Israeli government officials issued a warning to Hamas after it launched Kassam rockets at an Ashkelon school on Tuesday. The officials are considering approving a possible incursion in residential Palestinian areas for the first time since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza last summer.
“The firing of Kassams is a major escalation that Hamas is responsible for,” said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. “The criminal attempt to hurt Israeli citizens will be met with an extraordinary response and the Hamas movement will be the first to feel it.”
The rocket traveled 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) before landing in the school.
Ashkelon Mayor Roni Mehatzri said Ashkelon’s 120,000 residents could not live under this type of threat.
The Israeli army turned down requests by the Ashkelon municipality to install a Kassam early warning system modeled after the Red Dawn system in Sderot to avoid a panic among residents.
Member of Knesset Ze'ev Boim said, "as far as I'm concerned, the people of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya can start packing."