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Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired 19 rockets at the western Negev yesterday, one of them scoring a direct hit on a home in the coastal city of Ashkelon.

The house's five residents managed to flee to a bomb shelter before the strike, so there were no 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 at Israel. The launches have dropped by 50 percent compared with the first day of Operation Cast Lead, 17 days ago.