Seven mortar shells fired from Gaza Strip into Israel

December 21st, 2010 - 1:40 am ICT by BNO News  

GAZA STRIP (BNO NEWS) — Seven mortar shells were fired into southern Israel on Monday morning, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said, but there were no reports of injuries.

The IDF said the mortar shells were fired into the Eshkol regional council of the Negev area, but caused no known structural damage or injuries. The attack came soon after an Israeli Air Force (IAF) airstrike killed five Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

The five dead militants were identified as members of the Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committees. Hamas, the group which rules the Gaza Strip, has tried to prevent rocket attacks on Israeli territory but small groups have launched successful attacks against Israel.

The Israeli government holds Hamas, classified as a terrorist organization by most countries, solely responsible for maintaining the calm in the Gaza Strip and for any terrorist activity emanating from it. “The IDF will also continue to respond harshly to any attempt to use terror against the State of Israel,” it warned.

Last week, IDF launched air strikes at three separate targets in the Gaza Strip. The attack was in retaliation to Wednesday’s rocket attacks that wounded one man in the Eshkol region. The man suffered light wounds to his upper body after four to five mortar shells were fired from Gaza.

And on Saturday evening, two Palestinian militants were killed and an IDF soldier was seriously wounded in an exchange of fire on Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip. The armed incident stemmed from an attempt by Palestinian militants to infiltrate into Israeli territory from Gaza, likely to carry out an attack.

Since the beginning of 2010, more than 200 Grad missiles, Qassam rockets and mortar shells fired from the Gaza Strip have landed in Israeli territory.

IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi warned last week that the security situation at the Gaza Strip border is very fragile and may deteriorate rapidly.

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