Rockets Hit Ashkelon Friday Morning

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ASHKELON, Israel - Five rockets fired by terrorists in the  Gaza Strip hit in and around the coastal city of Ashkelon late Friday morning. Several residents, including children, were treated for shock.

Earlier, seven Kassam rockets fell in Sderot, one hitting a utility pole near the residence of an 80-year-old woman, who was injured by shrapnel, while four others residents were treated for shock at Ashkelon's Barzilai Medical Center.

A rocket landing on a kibbutz (agricultural community) in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council damaged several homes.

By mid-day Friday, Hamas's Izz al-Din al-Qassam and the Popular Resistance Committee's Salah al-Din Brigades each claimed responsibility for some of the 15 rockets fired on Israelis.

Sderot Mayor-elect David Boskila, who has been dealing with rocket attacks on the city, has had little chance to celebrate Tuesday's election victory.

"It's sad to be a citizen of a country that cannot deploy its army to give an immediate response to this phenomenon," Boskila said.

"The government has to hit the Palestinian population hard for this attack and should do it in real time, immediately after the attack," he told reporters.

"I reiterate my demand that the Israeli government do everything possible to stop the shooting. As soon as I officially enter office, I will have the authority and mandate to demand this. I really hope this attack will end the week of attacks and that we'll have a peaceful weekend, although I very much doubt it," he said.

Since November 4, Palestinian terrorists have fired more than 130 rockets and mortar shells on southern Israeli cities and towns.

Meanwhile, as rockets and mortar shells rained down on Israelis, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, E.U. commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy demanded that Israel open border crossings and resume delivery of fuel and goods to the Gaza Strip.

"I am profoundly concerned about the consequences for the Gazan population of the complete closure of all Gaza crossings for deliveries of fuel and basic humanitarian assistance," she said in a statement.

"Recent infringements of the calm agreed to in June must not lead to a renewed cycle of violence. I call on all parties to exercise restraint," the statement read.

On Friday, a Hamas spokesman said the cease-fire has begun "the countdown to its end."

Sources: YNet news, israel national news

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