Three Grad-type rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel late Saturday and early Sunday, with one rocket scoring a direct hit on a home in Netivot, Army Radio reported Sunday. A man who was inside in the Netivot home was not hurt, but the structure, and several neighboring homes, sustained massive damage.
Three people were hurt when they fell while running to a bomb shelter, and four more people were treated for shock.
Two rockets were launched overnight, with one hitting Netivot and the other striking the Beersheba area. The second rocket has not yet been located. Early Sunday, a third rocket exploded within Gaza territory, but not before setting off the warning siren in Ashkelon.
Schools were closed in Beersheba on Sunday morning, in accordance with the stated city policy: "If there is shooting, there is no learning." Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich told Army Radio that "when there is doubt, I have to exercise responsible judgment."
"There are quite a few buildings in our education system that are not protected. There is always a deliberation when it comes to these kinds of decisions, and we coordinate with the Homefront Command and security bodies. But when there is uncertainty, it cannot be completely eliminated," Danilovich said.
He voiced hope that calm would soon be restored. "I don't see the State of Israel retaliating, and that is the more serious issue, unfortunately," he continued.
Ashdod's school system was also closed on Sunday.
The Netivot resident whose house was hit, Pini Azoulay, recounted that he was sleeping when the early warning siren sounded. He ran for cover in the bathroom and was uninjured.
"I heard the siren,and I woke up and went to the entrance, where there is a relatively protected passageway," he said. “I then decided to go into the bathroom, which is also relatively safe. The minute I stepped into the bathroom there was a really frightening noise. My heart is still beating fast." Azoulay said he was home alone at the time of the explosion.
On Thursday, Palestinians reported that six Palestinians had been killed in Israeli air force attacks in the Gaza Strip. A week ago, two Qassam rockets fired from Gaza exploded in the western Negev, causing no injuries or damage.
Last Friday, a Qassam rocket struck a home in Sderot. The same home had already been hit by rockets in 2007, critically injuring a woman there.