Infant Wounded by Shrapnel as First Palestinian Rocket Strikes Gedera

A 3-month-old baby was lightly wounded yesterday when a Grad rocket fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip struck Gedera, 30 kilometers from Tel Aviv.

As a result of the continued rocket attacks, school will again not be held today in Be'er Sheva, Netivot, Ofakim, Omer, Lehavim, Sderot, Sha'ar Hanegev, Eshkol and the Sdot Yam regional council.

The rocket struck a road in the southern section of Gedera, close to a residential area, in the first such attack on a city in central Israel.

The baby, Shanir Inbar, sustained wounds from shards of glass that hit her face, and was subsequently taken to a hospital for treatment.

Four people were also treated for shock, including the baby's mother, Greta Inbar.

Ofir Frinsky, a Magen David Adom emergency services paramedic, told Haaretz that the city had been on alert for such an attack, despite never having fallen victim to rockets before.

"We have been prepared in Gedera for a long time. We heard the alert and headed out with reinforcements to the scene," he said.

Gaza militants fired more than 35 other rockets into Israel yesterday, causing neither casualties nor property damage. Most of the rockets hit the western Negev and the southern towns of Netivot and Ofakim.

On Monday, more than 40 Qassams and Grads were fired from Gaza at southern Israel, striking Ashkelon, Ashdod, Sderot, Kiryat Malakhi, near Ofakim, Netivot and Be'er Sheva.

Hamas also fired rockets at the area between Ashdod and Gedera on Monday. A number of people in Sderot were treated for shock, and in Ashdod a rocket nearly destroyed a kindergarten.

Some 8,000 rockets and mortar rounds have been fired at towns east and north of Gaza since 2000, killing 18 people before last month.

Ending this threat is Israel's stated motive for attacking the crowded Gaza Strip.

Since the latest fighting began on December 27, over 500 rockets have been fired from Gaza, and four Israelis killed.

Two rockets slammed in fields near Be'er Sheva, causing neither casualties nor injuries.

Nine rockets landed near Sderot and Sha'ar Hanegev close to noon yesterday. No injuries were reported, but a few people were treated for shock.

The concrete bomb shelters that dot the city allow residents to duck for cover whenever they hear the rocket alarms sound, and people have about 10 seconds to get out of harm's way.