Gaza Militants Fire Rockets at Israel, Iron Dome Intercepts Projectiles Over Be'er Sheva

Attacks come mere days following an Egypt-mediated ceasefire agreement between Israel and militants in the coastal enclave; Be'er Sheva, Ashdod, and Ashkelon call off studies in local schools over renewed violence.

The Israel Air Forces' Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted two Grad-type rockets launched toward the southern city of Be'er Sheva on Wednesday, despite a truce reached between Israel and Gaza militants earlier this week, while a third projectile landed in an open field in the vicinity of the town of Ofakim.

Municipalities of the cities of Be'er Sheva, Ashdod and Ashkelon  announced later Wednesday that studies in the cities' schools would be called off for Thursday, after only two days since announcing a return to studies following the Egypt-mediated ceasefire.

An Iron Dome missile being launched on Monday, March 12, 2012 - AFP

The city's announcement came despite the IDF's recommendation, according to which Be'er Sheva residents could send their children to school.

It was not the first time since the ceasefire that rockets were fired at Israel's south, a Grad-type Katyusha rocket also hitting a residential area in the southern town of Netivot late Tuesday. One person was lightly wounded.

In addition, even prior to the attack on Netivot, seven rockets and five mortar shells were fired toward southern Israel throughout Tuesday. They exploded in open areas and there were no reported casualties.

All in all, about 200 rockets have exploded in Israeli territory since the latest round of violence between Israel and Gaza broke out on Friday and until the Israel Defense Forces and Gaza militants agreed to cease fire.

Responding to rocket fire, the Israel Air Force carried out 37 airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, 19 strikes targeted rocket-launchers and 18 targeted weapons warehouses in response to rocket attacks.

Twenty-six Palestinians were killed as a result of IAF strikes on Gaza. Out of these 22 were militants and 4 were civilians who were in the area of IAF strikes, but were not involved in the rocket fire.

Earlier Tuesday, IDF officials announced that, following the ceasefire, 207,000 schoolchildren in communities 7-40 kilometers from Gaza would be returning to their studies on Wednesday, for the first time since the beginning of the week.