Gaza rockets pound Israel, Olmert gov't considers response

Tuesday, February 03, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists fired a medium-range missile at the southern Israel port city of Ashkelon early Tuesday morning, causing damage but no injuries.

On Monday, the Palestinians fired a short-range Kassam rocket into Israel, and on Sunday at least 15 rockets and mortar shells targeted Jewish communities in the southern Negev region.

The attacks come despite what many thought was a successful end to the recent Gaza war, after which both Israel and Hamas declared separate unilateral ceasefires.

The Israeli army on Tuesday warned residents living near or on top of arms smuggling tunnels running under the Gaza-Egypt border to evacuate in anticipation of possible retaliatory air strikes. Israeli aircraft bombed the tunnels on Sunday night.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met in Jerusalem to discuss a stronger response to the provocative rocket fire.

Meanwhile, Egyptian mediators continued to try to hammer out a long-term bilateral ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, but with rocket attacks on southern Israel escalating, chances of its success appeared low.

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