Rockets from Gaza shatter short-lived calm


JERUSALEM (JTA) – Rockets fired from Gaza began pounding southern Israel again, one day after a weekend barrage which left one Israeli civilian dead.

The Iron Dome missile defense system successfully intercepted at least one long-range Grad rocket fired at Beersheba Monday evening. Seven rockets fired from Gaza landed in the Beersheba area, according to reports. Rockets were also fired at Sderot, including one intercepted by Iron Dome and one that landed in the city. Earlier on Monday afternoon, a rocket landed in Ashkelon, shattering a cease fire that had begun at midnight.   

School for Tuesday was cancelled in Beersheba, Ashkelon and Ashdod.

"There is no cease-fire, no negotiations and the IDF continues its operations," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Likud Party lawmakers before the start of the opening meeting of the winter Knesset session earlier on Monday afternoon. "Anytime someone disrupts the peace in the South, our response will be severe, just as it was on Saturday, and I’m telling you, even more severe."

The latest attacks follow a weekend in which at least 39 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza at Israel. The barrage, for which Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility, appeared to be sparked by an Israeli airstrike Saturday that thwarted an attempt by a terrorist cell preparing to fire long-range rockets from southern Gaza into Israel. The Israeli military reported that it was the same terrorist cell that was responsible for rockets fired on Israel last week

Several long-range Grad missiles hit in and near cities throughout southern Israel, including Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gan Yavne and Beersheba. A school and a private home were damaged in the attacks, and several cars were burned. Some 200,000 children stayed home from school, and several colleges and Ben-Gurion University did not open for the start of the new academic year on Sunday as scheduled.

An Ashkelon resident and father of four, Moshe Ami, 56, died from injuries sustained when he was hit by shrapnel Saturday as he ran to a shelter from his car. He died in the hospital from stomach wounds several hours after the attack.

At least 10 Islamic Jihad terrorists have been killed in the Israeli strikes.

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