As Rocket Fire Continues, Gaza Militant Killed in IAF Strike

Iron Dome intercepts five rockets fired toward Ashkelon on Saturday evening; PM Netanyahu calls on IDF to 'continue operating with force' in Gaza to keep Israeli citizens safe.

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With rocket fire toward Israel's south continuing on Saturday, Gaza media reported that a member of the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza, 25-year-old Khalid Al-Biraye, was killed in an Israel Air Force strike in Jabalia, northern Gaza.

The IDF spokesperson confirmed the strike, saying that the deceased was "a Palestinian that was involved with recent preparations before the firing of a rocket. A strike on the target was confirmed and the [rocket] fire was thwarted."

Later on Saturday, the IDF spokesperson said that the IAF had struck a rocket-launching site in North Gaza. The Palestinians reported one person killed in the strike.

On Saturday evening, Iron Dome intercepted five rockets fired toward the Ashkelon area from Gaza.

Earlier, Hamas medical officials said that a four-year-old boy was killed, and another three people were injured, in an IAF strike on Saturday morning east of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip. According to Palestinians sources, the boy was killed by an Israeli shell and not by an IAF strike. The IDF denied the claims, and said there had not been any fire in that area.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and military and security officials over the security situation in the south on Saturday evening. At a meeting with Barak and security chiefs later, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the IDF to "continue operating with force" in the Gaza Strip in order to ensure the security of the citizens of southern Israel.

More than 20 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel overnight and early Saturday morning, wounding one Israeli man moderately, with rocket fire continuing into the evening.

The wounded man, a 50-year-old resident of Netivot, was wounded when a Qassam rocket directly hit a factory in the Sderot industrial zone. He received shrapnel wounds in his neck and was transported to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon.

Since the morning, around 16 rockets have been fired from Gaza toward the town of Sderot.

The Iron Dome anti-rocket system intercepted five rockets during the morning hours.

One rocket hit a school in Sderot, which was empty at the time. The rocket damaged windows and walls at the school.

In the late morning, four rockets hit the Ramat Eshkol Regional Council, with one more landing there in the evening. Two struck the Ashkelon Beach area, and one the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. These rockets struck open areas and no injuries or damage was reported.

Gantz held a meeting at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv with other top officers on the situation in the south, Army Radio reported.

Sderot Mayor David Buskila said on Saturday that he "hopes the government will give the order to the IDF to act to return quiet to communities near Gaza."

More than 130 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza over the past week and Israel has carried out a number of airstrikes against targets in Gaza in response.
Overnight, the Israel Air Force struck three Hamas security targets in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas had conditionally pledged to adhere to a truce brokered by Egypt on Wednesday, if Israel also withheld fire. Israel never formally commented on the deal but its officials have vowed to respond to any rocket fire from Gaza.

Last Sunday, one Israeli was killed in an attack on the Israel-Egypt border which was carried out by pro al-Qaida Salafist terrorists who crossed into Israel from the Sinai Peninsula.

Read this article in Hebrew

Damage caused by rocket fire from Gaza on a school building in Sderot, southern Israel, June 23, 2012. Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz



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