At least 75 people were hurt when a Grad katyusha rocket slammed into the Hutzot mall in Ashkelon around 6:00 p.m., Wednesday.

Included in the wounded were a mother and her baby, and two children lightly injured. Dozens of people were treated for shock. The casualties were taken away to the city’s Barzilai hospital.

Shoppers said that the siren did not sound, which would have given people a few seconds to take cover.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack as US President George Bush and PM Olmert concluded their meeting in Jerusalem.

Ashkelon Victims Update

A Soviet-designed Katyusha rocket hit an Ashkelon shopping mall Wednesday afternoon (May 14), injuring around 90 people. Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees claimed responsibility for the long-range rocket, launched from Gaza.

Among those hurt was 24-year old Ashkelon mother, Avital Afjan, who suffered head injuries when the roof of the shopping mall came crashing down. She has now been classified in stable condition, after being transferred to the trauma unit of Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer in central Israel.

Her two-year old daughter, Tair, has also regained consciousness, after suffering serious shrapnel wounds to her head.

The condition of two other women seriously hurt in the strike have also improved.


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