4 Qassams hit Negev; IDF soldier hurt in Gaza raid
By Nir Hasson, Haaretz Correspondent, Haaretz Service and Agencies
Palestinian militants fired four Qassam rockets from the Gaza Strip into the
western Negev early Wednesday, causing some damage, but no injuries.
In northern Gaza, an Israel Defense Forces soldier was moderately wounded
Wednesday during an operation aimed at countering the Qassam fire.
One of the rockets landed near a schoolyard in the western Negev city of
Sderot minutes before classes were to begin. Several students were treated for
shock as a result of the attack.
Another rocket caused damage to an agricultural structure in a western Negev
community. The other two landed in open fields outside Sderot, causing no
damage or injuries.
The rocket strikes came a day after 43-year-old Yaakov Yaakobov was killed in
a Qassam attack on a factory in Sderot. Yaakobov died hours after sustaining
serious head wounds in an attack on the poultry packing plant in which he
worked. The United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Louise Arbour,
was visiting Sderot at the time.
Also Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces shot dead a Palestinian gunman in
the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian hospital officials said.
The hospital officials said another militant was wounded in an IDF operation
in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahia. Both men were members of the
governing Palestinian Hamas group, said Hamas sources.
An IDF spokesman said the forces fired at a group of armed men who were laying
explosive charges in the path of soldiers operating in the area.
A spokesman from the ruling Hamas' military wing told Palestinian Authority
Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday that Palestinians would fire rockets at
Sderot so long as Israeli attacks on Gaza continue.
Abu Obayed warned Israel to either call off military strikes or "empty Sderot
of its residents." He added that the range and quality of Qassam rockets had
The announcement came a day after Hamas officials said the group was prepared
to take part in a mutual cease-fire.
Arbour, who was unhurt in the attack, had arrived in Sderot following a visit
to the Gaza Strip as part of a five-day tour of the Palestinian territories
She received got an angry reception in Sderot, when workers at a chicken
slaughtering plant threw stones at her vehicle and hurled abuse as she
insisted on seeing the result of Palestinian rocket fire firsthand.
Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the Office of the UN Special Coordinator
for the Middle East Peace Process, who accompanied Arbour to Sderot, said
Arbour had made the point "very, very forcibly" in a conversation with
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that he should exercise as much
of his authority as possible to try to put an end to the Qassam rocket
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