Gaza Rocket Sparks Fire in Factory in Southern Israel

Large fire erupts in Sderot factory containing cans of flammable paint; no casualties reported, but three lightly injured; total of four rockets hits south Israel.

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Screengrab from Israel Police spokesperson Twitter account, showing fire, smoke from factory near Sderot, June 28, 2014.Credit: Twiiter

A rocket launched from the Gaza Strip exploded in southern Israel Saturday, hitting a diesel fuel tank and causing a fire in a paint factory in the city of Sderot. Another rocket exploded in open terrain in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.

Three men aged 23, 50 and 59 were rushed to the Barzilai Medical Center with light wounds. The three are believed to have been in the area or passing through when the rocket hit. No other casualties have been reported. Four workers were rescued from the factory. As far as is known no one was trapped inside the factory. The factory contains flammable tins of paint. Ten firefighting teams were at the scene, and were said to have the fire under control around 10 P.M.

Blasts – evidently caused by exploding paint containers – were heard in nearby towns.

"A great tragedy was avoided because it's Saturday," one Sedrot resident noted. "If this would have happened in the middle of the week, dozens of people would have been at the industrial zone, and this could have ended differently."

A plastic factory was also damaged in the blaze.

Around 10 P.M. another rocket alert siren was sounded in the Sdot Negev and Sha'ar HaNegev communities in southern Israel. Two rockets then exploded in open terrain in Sdot Negev Regional Council. No injuries were reported.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon talked with Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi and told him the defense establishment "will not tolerate Gaza terror groups' attempts to disrupt the daily lives of the southern residents."

"We'll keep acting with a firm hand against the terrorists who shoot at Israel, and we'll deal them a painful blow," Ya'alon said.

Earlier on Saturday the Israeli air force struck four targets in the Gaza Strip, including "two centers of terrorist activity, a weapons manufacturing site in central Gaza and a weapons storage site in southern Gaza," according to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit.

Two rockets fired from Gaza toward Israel's south were intercepted by the Iron Dome rocket defense system on Friday evening, hours after two Palestinian militants were killed in an Israel Air Force strike in the northern Gaza Strip.

Screengrab from Israel Defense Forces spokesman's Twitter, showing smoke and fire in Sderot factory, June 28, 2014.Credit: Twitter