Up to 100 injured by Iran-made rocket which wrecks crowded Ashkelon shopping mall

Jihad Islami and Popular Committees claimed the attack with Hamas’ blessing. After examining the rocket shrapnel, police commander Uri Barlev confirmed it was a Grad (Katyhusha) military rocket made in Iran.
Of the 100 people injured in Ashkelon’s bustling mall, four people were seriously hurt including a mother and her four-month old baby. Two women suffered moderate injuries and the others of whom many were children were slightly hurt. Four were dug out of the debris.
The Palestinian rocket crashed without warning into the roof of the three-floor building, fired from the former Israel Dugit site in N. Gaza just when President Bush was winding up a conversation with Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. The attack revived fresh demands for a major operation to put a stop to the daily attacks from the Gaza Strip. Ashkelon is 15 km north of Gaza.
Furious complaints were heard in the streets of Ashkelon over the failure of the siren to sound an alert in time for people to take shelter from the rocket attack. Homeland Command officers explained the decision not to activate the siren by the many recent false alarms that kept the population on edge and the wish not to disturb the Bush visit.
Security minister Avi Dichter, trade and industry minister Eli Yishai decide to skip the gala banquet in the US president’s honor and travel to Ashkelon instead.
Casualties have mounted recently from the daily Palestinian attacks on Israeli communities outside Gaza. Two people were killed in the last week.

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