Rockets pound Israel for seventh day

JERUSALEM (JTA) — More than 80 rockets were fired at southern Israel in the seventh day since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, including two aimed at Jerusalem.

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An air raid siren sounded in Jerusalem Thursday afternoon; two rockets fell in the Gush Etzion area south of Jerusalem. Hamas claimed responsibility for the rockets aimed at Jerusalem. Shortly before that alarm, a rocket struck a building in the Eshkol Regional Council, reportedly injuring several people.  Rockets also hit a home in Netivot and damaged homes in Sderot and Beersheva.

An Israeli reserve soldier was injured by a rocket that fell in the Eshkol Regional Council.

At 8 a.m., a volley of 16 rockets was fired toward Beersheva. One hit the road in front of a bus, damaging the bus. The passengers had gotten off of the bus due to the air raid siren.  A second rocket hit a house and a third hit a parked care. Nine of the 16 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that during the day on Thursday it targeted eleven terrorist squads involved in firing rockets toward Israel and planting explosive devices at the border. The IDF also bombed 30 underground rocket launchers and a senior terror operatives hiding place which was used to store weapons and ammunition, the IDF spokesman said. Overnight, the IDF said it targeted 100 terror sites in Gaza, including underground rocket launchers, terror tunnels and ammunition storage facilities.

“The sites that were targeted were positively identified by precise intelligence over the course of several months,” the IDF statement said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton reportedly will land in Israel on Tuesday in order to encourage a ceasefire. She will also meet with Palestinian Authority leaders, but no one from Hamas, Haaretz reported. United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon also arrived in Israel on Tuesday to meet with Israeli leaders. 

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