After a several hours of quiet on Shabbos, more rockets were fired toward southern Israel in the evening, bringing the total number of rockets fired over the weekend to over 100.
Schools was called off in Sunday in Ashkelon, Be’er Sheva, Ashdod and other regional councils in Israel south, affecting some 207,000 students.
Late today, five rockets were fired toward Eshkol Regional council, and two more rockets in the Hof Ashkelon area. In response, IAF planes struck a Gaza munitions plant.
During the escalation that began on Friday, the Iron Dome system intercepted 28 of the 31 rockets it targeted. The missile defense system is designed to only intercept rockets identified as heading toward populated areas.
Also on Saturday, Palestinians said that an Israeli air strike killed two people riding on a motorcycle in Gaza’s Khan Younis, bringing the total number of militants reportedly killed to 15.
Victoria Nuland, U.S. State Department Spokesperson said the U.S is “deeply concerned by the renewal of violence in Southern Israel.” She added that the U.S. condemns “in the strongest terms the rocket fire from Gaza by terrorists into southern Israel in recent days, which has dramatically and dangerously escalated in the past day. We call on those responsible to take immediate action to stop these cowardly acts.”
U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton criticized on Saturday the barrage of rockets fired from Gaza to Israel. Meeting with Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni at Newsweek’s annual Women in the World Summit in New York, Clinton added that “Israel has the right to defend itself.”
Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with regional council heads in Israel’s south and said Israel will continue to strike whoever plans attacks on Israeli citizens. “We will improve the home front defenses even more,” Netanyahu said, “also by purchasing more Iron Dome systems, which proved themselves again this weekend.”
On Friday afternoon, the Israel Air Force launched a strike in Gaza and killed the leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, Zuhir al-Qaisi, who was believed to be planning a large terror attack on Israel’s southern border.