Iron Dome - Tal Cohen
An Iron Dome battery on the outskirts of Ashkelon. Photo by Tal Cohen
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Nine rockets and a barrage of mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel over the course of Saturday night and Sunday morning, continuing the escalation along the border that began late last week.

The Iron Dome system successfully shot down one rocket aimed at Be'er Sheva and another three targeting the city of Ashkelon.

At least three rockets were fired at Be'er Sheva on Sunday morning, one of which struck a school building in the city. There were no casualties in that attack, as students are currently on summer break. Another six rockets were fired at Ashkelon, and a barrage of mortar shells were launched toward other communities along the Gaza border.

A Grad rocket fired late Saturday directly struck a home in Be'er Sheva, killing one person and seriously wounding four. Twenty-six people were treated for shock. Two children were lightly wounded on Saturday night when four Grad rockets landed in Ofakim.

The Popular Resistance Committees claimed responsibility for the Be'er Sheva rocket attacks while Hamas claimed responsibility for the Ofakim rocket attacks.

More than 70 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip since Thursday night. Extensive property damage has also been reported.

On Saturday night, the forum of eight senior Israeli cabinet ministers convened to discuss the escalation in the south.

A senior diplomatic official in Jerusalem said participants discussed the possibility of additional military strikes against terror organizations in the Gaza Strip. The anonymous source also stressed containment efforts. “No one wants an Operation Cast Lead 2,” he said.