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More than 70 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel

August 21, 2011

More than 70 rockets and mortar shells were fired at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip since Thursday night, killing one person and injuring at least 18, six seriously. Extensive property damage has been reported. The Home Front Command, together with mayors and council heads in the affected areas, announced the cancelation until further notice of all public events including parties, performances and soccer games.

Last night, the forum of eight senior cabinet ministers convened to discuss the escalation in the south. A senior diplomatic official in Jerusalem said participants discussed the possibility of additional military strikes against terror organizations in the Gaza Strip. The anonymous source also stressed containment efforts. “No one wants an Operation Cast Lead 2,” he said.

Emergency personnel at the site of a direct Grad rocket hit on a home in Be’er Sheva, in which one person was killed.

Photo by: Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Egyptian officials spoke repeatedly throughout the weekend, especially Saturday, with Israeli officials and Hamas leaders in Gaza, in order to prevent continued escalation. An Egyptian diplomat said messages were sent to both Israeli and Hamas figures about the importance of restoring quiet.

Egypt reportedly announced it was recalling its ambassador from Tel Aviv in response to the deaths of at least three Egyptian police officers on Thursday when Israeli soldiers fired across the border into Sinai while trying to apprehend the perpetrators of a coordinated terror attack in which eight Israelis were killed. A number of meetings of senior Israeli officials were held over the weekend in efforts to halt further deterioration in relations with Egypt. ‏

A joint investigation will be conducted with the Egyptian military to determine the circumstances of the incident.

One person was killed last night when a Grad rocket struck a home in the southern city of Be’er Sheva. A woman was in critical condition and three others was in serious condition from the rocket strike. Dozens more were treated for shock.


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