Long-range rockets fired from Gaza strike Beersheba, closing schools


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two long-range Grad rockets struck Beersheba and two Kassam rockets landed in an open area in southern Israel, threatening a three-day truce.

Israel’s Air Force also targeted and hit a rocket launching site and a squad preparing to fire a rocket toward southern Israel, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

Schools were closed throughout Beersheba on Sunday following the Grad attack at about 5:30 a.m. The rockets fell in an open area and caused no damage, according to reports. The Kassam rockets were fired late Saturday night and caused no damage.

In response, the IDF targeted the rocket launching site, killing one Hamas terrorist belonging to the organization’s military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, according to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency. 

The Popular Resistance Committees claimed responsibility for the Grad fire, saying it was "a warning against continued Israeli aggression," according to Ynet.

The rocket fire comes three days after Egypt brokered an unofficial cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians.

More than 70 rockets and mortars were fired last week from Gaza at southern Israeli communities.

Also Sunday, Israel’s Cabinet unanimously approved full protection from rocket fire for all communities located up to 7 kilometers, or 4.3 miles, from the Gaza border, at a cost of about $70 million. Communities up to 5 kilometers, or 3 miles, previously were protected.

"This will provide security for residents of the South," Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the meeting following the decision. "We are doing this because attacks by rockets and missiles at shorter distances are much greater in the area around the Gaza Strip than at other distances. I think that this is what residents of the South have been hoping for; they have been calling for it for a long time."

This year, more than 610 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip have hit Israel — more than 150 during in October alone — according to the IDF.

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