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Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Monday fired 19 rockets at the western Negev, one of which scored a direct hit on a home in the northern Negev city of Ashkelon.

The five residents of the house managed to flee to a bomb shelter before the strike, thus avoiding casualties. A number of people were treated for shock.

Another few rockets were also reported in Sderot and in the central Negev city of Be'er Sheva. Another rocket fired from Gaza exploded in an open field near Kiryat Gat, causing no casualties or damages.

The Israel Defense Forces said Sunday that there has been a dramatic drop in the ability of Hamas to launch rockets against Israel. Currently, the launches have dropped by 50 percent compared to to the first day of Operation Cast Lead, 17 days ago.

Meanwhile, Palestinian militants have resumed their rocket fire every day since the offensive began.

A total of 22 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip struck Israel on Sunday, one of which exploded in an empty school playground in the northern Negev city of Ashdod. There were no casualties in the incident.

On Saturday, at least 21 Palestinian rockets hit Israeli territory, wounding 14 people. The number of rockets fired from Gaza was somewhat lower than had been shot daily since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead on December 27.

An Ashkelon man was lightly wounded and required medical attention after a Qassam rockets slammed into his apartment building Saturday in the center of town. In addition, the Ashkelon city center sustained another Qassam strike Saturday.