Rocket attacks continue after Israeli troops withdraw from Gaza

By Xinhua

Jerusalem : Three Grad-type Katyusha rockets were fired at Israeli southern town of Ashkelon on Monday morning, hours after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) withdrew its ground troops from the Gaza Strip, culminating days of intensive fighting.

Support TwoCircles

One Katyusha scored a direct hit on a residential building in the city. A few people were treated for shock, according to army sources.

Palestinian militants in Gaza also fired at least six Qassam rockets at various locations in the western Negev on Monday morning.

Earlier, IDF pulled out the ground troops from the northern Gaza, completing the first stage of the activity dubbed Operation Hot Winter.

The pullback followed days of sequential fighting that drew an appeal from Washington to end violence and rescue peace talks with the Palestinians.

Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon told Army Radio, “This operation has run its course. The main goal of the Israeli government … is to end the firing at targets in the south. There were dozens of deaths among the Hamas terrorists – this is certainly deterrence.”

The sources of Palestinian National Authority said that 116 Palestinians have been killed and 350 wounded since last Wednesday.

Hamas declared a “victory” in the Gaza Strip after Israeli troops had pulled back to the border from positions taken inside the north of the enclave in recent days.

“The enemy has been defeated,” a Hamas spokesman was quoted by Israel Radio as saying, adding that the IDF had failed in its efforts to curb Palestinian rocket fire against Negev towns.