Jerusalem, Sep. 9 – Terrorists from Hamas-controlled Gaza fired rockets at Israeli civilian targets on Sunday, forcing the closure of schools and destroying two houses in the town of Netivot.
"I came out from the wreckage, and the entire house collapsed on me," Netivot resident Pini Azoulay told Ynet News. The owner of the other house hit in the attack, Eliyahu Avitan, said the entire building was destroyed. "People were supposed to be sleeping in this house, but fortunately they didn't show up in the end," he said.
A second rocket aimed at the city of Beersheba missed its target and exploded in an open field, but seven of the city’s 190,000 residents were injured as they ran for bomb shelters when air raid sirens jolted them from their sleep at 2 a.m. in the morning.
Officials ordered schools closed for tens of thousands of children in the area. No group claimed immediate responsibility for the attack from Gaza, controlled by the Iran-backed terrorist organization Hamas that seized control of Gaza in a 2007 military coup.
Hamas rejects the peace process and is committed to destroying Israel and replacing it with an Islamic state. It allows other terrorist organizations like Islamic Jihad to operate freely in Gaza. Since 2001, Hamas and the other terrorist groups have fired over 13,000 rockets and mortars at Israeli towns and cities, killing dozens of civilians.
So far in 2012 terrorists in Gaza have fired at least 557 explosives at Israeli civilian targets.
Israeli leaders have repeatedly called on the Palestinians to honor international calls for a resumption of peace talks without pre-conditions. The Palestinians remain split between Hamas-controlled Gaza and the West Bank under control of the rival Fatah party, and have been unable to resolve their split nor return to the negotiating table.