Over 180 Palestinian rockets have been fired at Israel since the unilateral ceasefire began on January 18, according to the IDF Spokeperson’s Unit. The latest Qassam rocket attack targeted Ashkelon on Tuesday, March 24 after a 10 day lull. A Qassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit the Ashkelon are on Tuesday afternoon. No injuries or damage were reported.
Between March 17-24, three Palestinian mortar shells were fired at IDF forces operating along the border security fence. Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for the mortar shells fired on March 22.
The last rocket attacks on Israel took place a week ago, on March 14, when Palestinian rockets slammed into the western Negev. The last rocket attack on Sderot took place on March 5, when a Qassam slammed into an open area in Sderot.
Although Hamas recently condemned the Qassam rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, the rocket attacks have continued throughout March. Hamas stated that although it has fired thousands of rockets in the past, its military wing was not behind recent attacks. The militant Islamic group in control of Gaza also stated that it was actively investigating who was responsible for the rocket fire.
On the day on which Israeli PM Ehud Olmert declared the ceasefire effective, January 18, Palestinian terror networks fired a total of 19 rockets at Israeli civilians in the south. Three of the rockets were fired after Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian networks declared a truce on the afternoon of January 18.
A week into the ceasefire, one IDF soldier was killed and three wounded in a roadside bombing on January 27.
Qassams, mortar shells, and Grad rockets have continued slam into Israel sporadically since the truce, with Sderot and western Negev residents entering bomb shelters between one to two times a week.
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On February 1, the first grad-Katyusha was fired at Israel since Operation Cast Lead, following two more Grad rockets fired at southern Israel on February 13 and February 21 respectively.
On February 28, nine rockets including two newly advanced Grad-type rockets slammed into Ashkelon. In what was the worst attack since the ceasefire, a Grad rocket slammed into an Ashkelon school, causing heavy damages. The Grad rocket tore through the school, after the air raid siren sounded in the morning, with shrapnel destroying several classrooms. Seven people living nearby the school suffered from stress-related trauma.
The Ashkelon municipality was forced to shut down the school for sometime until repairs could be made. The Grad rocket that hit the school had a range of about 14 km or 8.6 miles, and was designed to cause massive damage.
*Ha’aretz.com, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and YNet News contributed to this report.
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