Southern Israel was hit by a barrage of at least 35 rockets and missiles on Friday evening, resulting in casualties.Three foreign workers were injured after a mortar shell was fired from Gaza and exploded in an area in the Eshkol Regional Council, according to a Channel 2 News report.Rockets also hit the city of Ashkelon and the community of Gan Yavne, Channel 2reported.Explosions were also heard in Be'er Sheva, where the Iron Dome defense system shot down a Grad missile which had been fired at the city. Channel 10 News reported that Iron Dome had managed to shoot down at least six rockets throughout the day.The escalation in the rocket and mortar attacks began after the IDF hit and killedseveral Gaza-based terrorist gangs, including a senior leader of the Popular Resistance Committees terror group.
Shortly before 5:00 p.m. (Israel time) on Friday afternoon, IAF aircraft struck and killed the head of the Popular Resistance Committees, Zuhir Musa Ahmed Qaisi and his deputy, Mahmoud Ahmed Mahmoud Hanani.
Shortly after 8:00 p.m. (Israel time), the IDF struck two additional terrorist, one in central Gaza and one in northern Gaza. According to reports in the Israeli media, two terrorists were killed in this attack, both from the Islamic Jihad.
Hamas on Friday blamed Israel for what he called a "grave escalation" in the South, after eight rockets were fired at the South and the IAF carried out air strikes on Gaza targets.Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also condemned the strike, saying that the escalation had caused a negative atmosphere, triggering a new round of violence in the region.The PRC responded with threats to reignite tensions along the testy frontier. "All options are open before the fighters to respond to this despicable crime. The assassination of our chief will not end our resistance," Abu Attiya, a spokesman for the PRC group said.
Terrorists pounded southern Israel with rockets on Friday night, after an air strike killed the secretary general of the Popular Resistance Committees, Zuhair Qaisi.
The IAF struck three targets in Gaza overnight Friday in response to a number of rocket attacks from the Strip earlier in the day that left at least eight people injured.
In the latest round of air strikes, launched after darkness fell, eight more Gaza terrorists were killed, Hamas officials in Gaza said. The IDF Spokesman's Office said that the Air Force recorded direct hits.
An international naval blockade of Iranian oil exports should be considered before any resort to air strikes against the country's disputed nuclear program, the chairman of the US Senate Armed Services Committee said on Friday.
"That's, I think, one option that needs to be considered" to boost pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear program in line with UN Security Council resolutions, Democratic Senator Carl Levin said in an interview taped for C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" program.
He said any such blockade should be preceded by lining up alternative oil supplies to avoid a price spike on world crude markets. Iran is OPEC's second-largest oil producer and the world's third-largest petroleum exporter.
Levin was responding to a question about possible ways of increasing pressure short of combat, including imposition of a "no-fly zone" over Iran.
Such moves "could be very effective," he said. "I think (these are) options that whoever is willing to participate should explore, including Israel and including the United States."
Levin said he would not be surprised if Israel took military action within "months."
"I would say that a strike is likely" if Iran continues to refuse to curb its nuclear program, he added. He said US-supported Israeli missile defense programs had undercut Iran's ability to retaliate against Israel for any strike.