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Civilian killed in Israel by rocket fired from Gaza

world Updated: Dec 30, 2008 01:43 IST

AFP
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A civilian was killed in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on Monday by a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, medical rescue services said.

Another eight people were wounded in the blast, three of them seriously, they said. The identities of the victims were not immediately available.

The projectile smashed in the city centre near a construction site which Israeli media said mostly employed Arab workers.

Medics said the man killed was an Israeli Arab working on the building site.

The armed wing of the Islamist Hamas movement claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it had fired "three Grad-type rockets" onto Ashkelon.

The man was the second civilian killed inside Israel by Palestinian militant fire since Saturday, when Israel unleashed a massive air blitz of the Gaza Strip that has since killed at least 345 Palestinians and wounded more than 1,550, according to medics.

A rocket hit the Israel town of Ashdod later on Monday and wounded five people, one critically, according to a spokesman for the Magen David Adom, the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross.

He said the Grad-type rocket with a range of 40 kilometres (25 miles) hit a railway yard.

In another attack, a rocket seriously wounded two people at the Nahal Oz kibbutz just north of the border with the Gaza Strip, public radio reported.

The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's armed wing, said in a statement in Gaza it had also fired the rocket that hit Ashdod.

Ashkelon, scene of the deadly morning attack, lies some 13 kilometres (eight miles) north of the Gaza Strip, which Hamas has ruled since June 2007.

Grad rockets are more accurate than the Qassams more usually used by Palestinian armed groups.

People living in southern Israel within 20 kilometres (13 miles) of the border with Gaza have been advised since Saturday to remain in public or private shelters whenever possible.

When Israeli radar scans detect an inbound rocket, local people have less than a minute to take shelter.