Israel mulls response to rocket attacks

Published: Aug. 21, 2011 at 7:43 AM

TEL AVIV, Israel, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- One Israeli was killed and scores were injured after approximately 100 rockets were fired at southern Israel, police and military officials said.

Rockets fired by Palestinians in Gaza fell in Beersheba and the Ashkelon area Sunday morning, the army said. One rocket fell on a school in Beersheba causing extensive damage but no injuries, Israel Radio said.

An Israeli man was killed Saturday night when a rocket exploded near a house in Beersheba. Six others were injured in the explosion, including two who were in critical condition Sunday, Israel Radio said.

Other Israelis were injured when rockets exploded in Ashkelon, Ofakim, Ashdod and elsewhere in the western Negev over the weekend.

"Israel must decide whether it will continue with the intolerable reality of a war of attrition or make an unequivocal decision with regards to Hamas, including hits against its leaders and major damage to its infrastructure going so far as to bring to the collapse of their reign in Gaza, " Shaul Mofaz, the chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, was quoted as saying by Sunday.

The committee convened in Ashkelon to discuss Israel's response to the escalation in the South, the Web site said.

Israel Army spokesman Brig.Gen Yoav Mordechai told Israel Radio Sunday the army estimates approximately 100 Qassam rockets and Grad missiles were fired at southern Israel since Friday. He said Israel will not hesitate to expand its military operations in Gaza saying, "We will see how things develop on the ground." He refused to elaborate on the steps under consideration.

Mordechai said the two Iron Dome missile defense systems deployed in the South intercepted a large number of the rockets. He said officials hoped a third Iron Dome battery would be operational by October.

The army said the Air Force conducted more than 25 sorties over the Gaza Strip during the weekend, pounding suspected terror targets affiliated with the Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committee, both of which claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks.

Palestinians reported at least 15 killed and scores injured in the air strikes, Ma'an news agency said.

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