Qassam strikes near southern Israel home

Qassam strikes near southern Israel home

Nahef : Israel | Mar 26, 2011 at 4:58 AM PDT
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Qassam strikes near southern Israel home

A rocket landed early Saturday morning in the Eshkol Regional Council and damaged a house, Israeli media said.

No injuries were reported in the attack and another rocket landed in an open field nearby, the Israeli news site Ynet reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US Defense Secretary Robert Gates Friday that Israel is ready to act with "great force" in response to a spate of rocket fire and a deadly bus bombing in Jerusalem.

Israel had been "subjected to bouts of terror and rocket attacks," Netanyahu told reporters before going into a meeting with Gates.

"We stand ready to act with great force and great determination to put a stop to it," he added, with officials saying Israel had not been hit by any projectiles Friday morning.

"Any civilized society will not tolerate such wanton attacks on its civilians," he said.

However, as Netanyahu spoke, Defense Minister Ehud Barak toured the Gaza border with army chief Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, saying that the situation seemed to be calming down.

"In the last 24 hours there has been no fire into our territory, but we continue to monitor the situation," Barak said, according to a statement from his office.

And Barak indicated that if the rocket attacks stopped, Israel would also halt its strikes into the Gaza Strip.

"We don't intend to let the terror organizations again disturb the order but we will do all we need to to return the [military] activity to the border line itself," he said.

Also, Barak said, Israel will deploy its "Iron Dome" multi-million-dollar missile defense system in southern Israel for the first time next week in the wake of rocket attacks.

"I authorized the army to deploy in the next few days the first battery of "Iron Dome" for an operational trial," he said.

The deployment of the Iron Dome interceptor, designed to combat short-range rocket threats from Gaza and Lebanon, has been delayed until now with officials saying operating crews needed more training and suggestions the system was prohibitively expensive.

Gates, a former CIA director with years of experience in Washington, said US-Israel security ties were as strong as they had ever been at a time when the region was in "turmoil."

On Thursday, he said in Tel Aviv that Washington firmly backed Israel's right to respond both to the rocket fire and the Jerusalem bombing, which he described as "repugnant acts".

But he suggested Israel should tread carefully or risk derailing the course of popular unrest sweeping Arab and Muslim countries in the Middle East.

The US defense chief is pressing Israeli and Palestinian leaders to take "bold action" for peace despite soaring tensions, saying political upheaval in the region offered an opportunity.

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Qassam strikes near southern Israel home
Home damaged by Qassam rocket.
saleh1966 is based in Gaza, Ġazzah, Palestine, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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