Stray Qassam Injures 2-year-old in Beit Hanun

Five Qassam rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel yesterday. A sixth Qassan that was fired from Beit Hanun hit a nearby home, injuring five Palestinians including a 2-year-old boy whose legs were broken in the attack.

One of the rockets that landed in Israel, one fell in the center of Sderot, close to a basketball court at a community center. No one was injured but a few people were treated for shock and some property damage was reported. Another Qassam landed near a bus in Sderot, causing some shrapnel injuries and shock.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for firing the rockets into Israel, which it said was in order to avenge the deaths of two members in an Israeli arrest raid in the West Bank earlier this week.

The rocket that hit the Palestinian house blew through the home's living room and exploded in a bedroom where three children were sleeping, relatives said.

Two-year-old Samir al-Masri suffered two broken legs in the attack, said Dr. Said Judeh of Kamal Adwan hospital. The boy's 4-year-old sister and 3-year-old brother were lightly wounded by shrapnel, said their uncle, Jad al-Masri.

In the past, similar cases of Palestinians being hurt by Palestinian rockets have led to backlashes against the militant groups, whose attacks against Israel are generally supported by the public.

Last night Defense Minister Amir Peretz met with senior military officials to discuss the continuing Qassam attacks and the infighting within the Palestinian Authority. Peretz asked the Israel Defense Forces to formulate guidelines for preventing further Qassam fire without destroying the cease-fire.

Gaza remained calm yesterday for the second day in a row. Hamas political bureau head Khaled Meshal, who is based in Damascus, asked members of the organization's military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, to stop their warring with Fatah militants, adding, "a known faction received aid from foreign sources in order to bring down the government."