Palestinians fire Qassam rocket that hits just south of Ashkelon

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired a Qassam rocket on Sunday afternoon that hit just south of Ashkelon. There were no casualties and no damage was caused. The militant group Islamic Jihad distributed a video of what it said was the launch of the rockets. The video showed the rocket placed on a launcher in the former Gaza Strip settlement of Elei Sinai, with Ashkelon off in the distance. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said on Sunday that the defense establishment has received specific warnings of six planned Palestinian terror attacks and 43 other general warnings. During the weekly Sunday cabinet meeting, Mofaz said violent anti-Israel activities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have increased during the past several days due to the continued failure of the Palestinian Authority to act against terror organizations. He also noted that the IDF has bolstered its forces in the West Bank and is carrying out large-scale operations in the northern sector and around Nablus. More than 70 wanted Palestinians were arrested and soldiers uncovered a weapons manufacturing laboratory in Nablus during these operations. Car packed with explosives found outside Nablus hospital Palestinian authorities evacuated a hospital in the West Bank city of Nablus on Sunday after discovering a car packed with explosives parked outside. Palestinian security forces neutralized the explosives, and there were no reports of casualties. It was not immediately known who owned the vehicle or who placed it in the courtyard outside the Rafidia hospital. IDF troops fired at a rocket launching site in the southern Gaza Strip early on Sunday. Sites used by militants firing rockets into Israel and roads for transporting the makeshift missiles were also hit in overnight Israel Air Force raids, the army said. Four Palestinians were wounded in at least nine strikes, including three policeman and a baby who was hit in the face with shrapnel, medics said. Key bridges in the northern Gaza Strip were also targeted, cutting roads for thousands of people, Palestinian sources said. Israel has responded to rocket attacks by militants on Israeli territory by firing missiles and artillery rounds at fields used to launch the homemade rockets. In a separate incident, IDF soldiers killed a Palestinian gunman attempting to bomb a military patrol on the Gaza-Israel border late on Saturday, a Palestinian militant group said. The gunman, from the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) militant faction, was killed as he lay mines along a road patrolled by the Israeli military near the Erez Crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the group said. Palestinian medical officials identified the dead man as Mohammed Abu Dikri, 34. The IDF said soldiers saw a suspected militant crawl to within 100 meters of the Gaza border fence. „The troops saw that he was dealing with various wires and suspecting that he was planting a bomb, they opened fire at him and identified a hit,” an army spokeswoman said. Israel has said it would respond forcefully against any cross-border attacks by Gaza militants.