Palestinians fire upgraded Qassam missiles at Ashkelon, escalating massive barrage
More than 35 missiles have been fired against all the Israeli towns and villages within range of Gaza since early Wednesday, Nov. 5. Two upgraded Qassam missiles hit Ashkelon’s main street and industrial zone. Three shock victims were hospitalized. Israel’s emergency services in Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot and the villages around Gaza are on the ready for further attacks but not all the schools within range of Gaza have shelters or fortified classrooms.
The Palestinian barrage, which coincided with Barack Obama’s victory rally in Chicago, followed a battle that erupted Tuesday night when an Israeli armored force crossed 250 meters deep into the Gaza Strip to demolish a Hamas tunnel dug from Al Bureij the Israel military position at the Kissufim border. It was ready for immediate activation as a terror-cum-kidnap device. Six IDF soldiers were injured, 1 seriously, 1 moderately, 4 lightly in the first Israeli incursion of Gaza since the June truce, when Hamas gunmen opened fire from a building housing the tunnel opening. One Hamas gunman was killed in the clash and four injured. Israel troops have withdrawn from Gaza.
The Palestinians then shot 7 mortar rounds into Israel, whereupon an Israeli Air Force helicopter went into action and killed five Palestinian mortar-men.
Israel has termed the operation an isolated incident not intended to terminate the six-month Gaza ceasefire which expires December 18. Hamas denied the tunnel’s existence, called the attack a clear truce violation and threatened reprisals.