Palestinian rocket fire against Israel continued throughout the first week of February despite the unilateral ceasefire declared by Israel and Hamas two weeks ago on Sunday, January 18.
Around 18 Qassam rockets and mortar shells were fired from Gaza and struck Israel on Sunday February 1. Four of the mortar shells exploded in the Sha’ar Hanegev region of the western Negev, injuring three Israelis including two IDF soldiers and one civilian. Three other rockets struck the Eshkol region, with one rocket landing between two kindergartens. No injuries or damages were reported.
On Monday evening, February 2, the Tzeva Adom sounded in the city of Sderot. The Qassam landed in open fields outside Sderot, reportedly wounding no one and causing no damage.
On Tuesday, February 3, a Grad type missile struck the center city of Ashkelon early in the morning, as Ashkelon children made their way to school. At 7 am, the air raid siren sounded in Ashkelon followed by the Grad explosion. The Grad rocket struck a residential neighborhood in central Ashkelon, landing between buildings and smashing into the rear of a vacated bus. One woman was lightly injured in the attack and three people went into shock. All were evacuated to Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center. Rocket shrapnel damaged several cars, and shattered windowpanes.
This was the second time that a Grad rocket was fired at Ashkelon since the ceasefire began. On Saturday January 31, a Grad rocket slammed just south of Ashkelon, exploding in an open area with the siren blaring throughout the city in the early morning. During Operation Cast Lead, nearly 100 Grad-Katyusha rockets struck Ashkelon within three weeks.
Despite the Grad rocket attack on Ashkelon, Kerem Shalom, Karni, Nahal Oz and Erez crossings operated throughout Tuesday, enabling a total of 218 trucks with 6106 tons of supplies into Gaza. Over 446,000 liters of heavy duty diesel for the Gaza power station and 250 tons of cooking gas were transferred via the Nahal Oz fuel depot on Tuesday, followed by another 200 trucks of humanitarian aid on Wednesday.
Over 30 rockets, mortar shells, and Grad missiles have been fired at Israel since the ceasefire began.
Israel has responded by conducting strikes on tunnels Hamas continues to use smuggle weapons from Egypt and Hamas training positions.
*YNetnews.com, Haaretz.com, and Imra.org.il contributed to this report.