Fresh Barrage of Gaza Rockets Strike Israel's South

Iron Dome intercepts a number of rockets over Be'er Sheva on Saturday morning; 12 Palestinians reportedly killed in IAF strikes in Gaza since Friday.

Another barrage of rockets was fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel on Saturday morning. The Iron Dome system intercepted a number of rockets over Be'er Sheva. Rocket warning sirens also sounded in Ashdod.

Since Friday, a total of more than 60 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza. More than 20 rockets have been intercepted by the Iron Dome system, including ten on Saturday morning.

On Friday, over 40 rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel. Eight people were injured and some damage was reported.

On Friday afternoon, the Israel Air Force launched a strike in Gaza and killed the leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, who was believed to be planning a large terror attack on Israel's southern border.

The targeting of the secretary-general of the Popular Resistance Committees, Zuhir al-Qaisi, came after the IDF learned that he had been planning a terror attack on Highway 12, which runs along the Egypt-Israel border, and was the site of a deadly terror attack in August 2011, in which eight Israelis were killed.

According to the IDF, al-Qaisi was one of the organizers of the August attack.

Al-Qaisi was reportedly in his car in northern Gaza, along with his collaborator Mahmoud Hanani, when the IAF fired two missiles at the vehicle, killing the two.

Earlier Friday, prior to the IAF's targeting of al-Qaisi, two mortars were fired into Israel from Gaza.

IDF officials called the mortar volley "unprovoked" and indicated that it was not in response to any army operations in the coastal enclave.

Following the IAF's targeting of al-Qaisi, rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza at Be’er Sheva, Ashdod, Kiryat Malachi, Netivot, and Ashkelon.

A rocket that fell in a town in the Be’er Tuvia Regional Council caused damage to a house, but no casualties.

One person was seriously wounded by a mortar shell that exploded in the Eshkol Regional Council, and two more were moderately and lightly hurt. The three were evacuated to Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva.

According to the IDF, IAF aircraft struck six targets in Gaza overnight: two weapons manufacturing sites and two rocket launching sites in northern Gaza, a weapons manufacturing site in central Gaza, and a terror activity center in southern Gaza.

Also overnight, the IAF targeted a terrorist in central Gaza and six terrorist cells in northern and central Gaza as they prepared to launch projectiles at Israel, the IDF said.

The IDF places responsibility for the escalation on Hamas.

In Gaza, 12 Palestinians have reportedly been killed since Friday in IAF strikes. Most of the dead were Islamic Jihad operatives. Islamic Jihad said it has launched 23 Grad rockets and 22 Qassam rockets.  The Popular Resistance Committees has also said that it has launched rockets at Israel since Friday.

Read this article in Hebrew

Eli Hershkovitz