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Monday, December 25, 2006

Qassam hits strategic facility in Ashkelon

Qassam hits strategic facility in Ashkelon
Agreed upon truce breached once again as Palestinians in northern Gaza fire
three rockets toward Negev area; one strikes strategic facility in Ashkelon,
damage done to structures

Anat Bereshkovsky YNET Latest Update: 12.25.06, 10:38,7340,L-3344184,00.html

Palestinian gunmen launched Monday a Qassam from northern Gaza, which landed in the industrial area in Ashkelon, hitting a strategic facility. No injuries were reported, but a number of structures at the site were damaged.

Workers at the facility said the security officer at the site was alerted of the incoming rocket by beeper, as the "Color Red" alert system in Ashkelon is not operational.

"We were told on the speaker system to enter protected areas," one employee said. "We heard a blast - it was relatively short. We returned fairly quickly to our work stations."

Last week a rocket landed near the facility, and it was reported that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert  visited the area Sunday evening.

Earlier two Qassam rockets fired from Gaza into Israel landed in open areas in the Negev's Eshkol Regional Council. There were no casualties or damages.

A total of fifty-six rockets were fired toward Israeli territory since the agreed upon truce went into effect last month.

"The situation is not good," Council Head Uri Naamati said. "While it is better than it was before the ceasefire, Qassams are still falling in the area. Fortunately, I am not the one who has to make the difficult decision on how to act; holding back is hard, but so is escalating the situation."

The "Color Red" alert system, which was put into place in the Eshkol Council just a number of weeks ago, was activated a few minutes too late.

'Israel trapped'

Sunday four rockets were fired toward Sderot and the western Negev area; no injuries were reported. One Qassam landed in a Sderot neighborhood, near a nursery school . Several children were inside the kindergarten at the time of the attack.

The building and an electric pole were damaged, as well as some of the street lighting in the area.

Olmert said during a Kadima party convention in Ashkelon Sunday that he would see to it that no Qassam rockets are fired at Sderot, Ashkelon and the communities surrounding Gaza.

Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin voiced his concern on Sunday during the cabinet meeting over the policy of restraint currently being employed by Israel in the face of the continuous rocket attacks emanating from Gaza.

"We're trapped. If we don't respond - the Qassams will continue to fall and if we do respond against the rocket cells the calm will collapse," said Diskin.

First Published: 12.25.06, 08:31

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