Kibbutz Man Killed in Hamas Mortar Attack

Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired 21 Qassam rockets into the western Negev yesterday, causing a few minor injuries as well as some damage to buildings, including a Sderot synagogue and a structure near Sapir College. Other rockets landed in open areas, with one setting a Sderot field ablaze. Earlier on Friday, an Israeli was killed in a mortar attack.

Yesterday morning an Israel Air Force missile hit gunmen as they were approaching the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip.

On Friday night the IAF struck at two Hamas positions in the Rafah area, killing five Hamas men, in retaliation for a mortar attack earlier Friday by Hamas militants that killed Jimmy Kedoshim, 48, as he was tending the garden of his home on Kibbutz Kfar Aza.

An Israel Defense Forces source said that recently Islamic Jihad had begun taking part in firing Qassams and mortar shells at Israel, an activity that had previously been the province of Hamas only.

Kedoshim had been a member of the kibbutz for over 30 years, after his initial arrival there in 1974 as a member of a youth movement. Friends on kibbutz related on Friday that he turned his love for parachuting into a company specializing in aerial photography and advertising. He took part in motorized paragliding competitions, often winning, and was the liaison between the Israel Paragliding Association and the country's paragliding schools.

Kedoshim will be laid to rest this afternoon at his kibbutz. He is survived by his wife, Anna, and their children: Shaked, Stav and Eyal.

There is no early warning system for mortar shells in the Negev, like the Color Red rocket warning system, and with the exception of the hitchhiking station and some of the buildings for children, the kibbutz buildings are not reinforced.

"Since there's no Color Red system against the mortars it's hard to know when an attack is over," says one kibbutz member. "Everyone is anxious all the time and every loud noise alerts everyone."