JERUSALEM – A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck a tent filled with sleeping soldiers in a southern Israeli army base, wounding more than 25 of them early today, Israeli medics and the army said.
The army confirmed the soldiers in the tent that was hit were all recent recruits in basic training at an army base in southern Israel less than a mile north of the Gaza Strip.
Eli Bin, director of the Magen David Adom rescue service, said one of the wounded soldiers was in critical condition, two were seriously injured, 25 others were lightly to moderately injured. The wounded were being evacuated to hospitals in southern Israel.
Islamic Jihad, a small radical militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Palestinian militants in Gaza fire rockets daily at towns in southern Israel. The crude rockets wreak panic but rarely cause serious casualties.
Today’s attack was the largest number of injuries sustained in a single such attack against Israel.
Sderot, a working-class town of 22,000, and surrounding towns have been battered by thousands of projectiles launched in recent years from Gaza. The inaccurate rockets have killed 12 people in the past seven years.
Attacks last week on Sderot, including one near a crowded day care center, led parents to pull their children out of school and brought demands for retaliation. Israel’s Security Cabinet last week rejected calls for a large-scale Gaza invasion but threatened to cut water, electricity and fuel supplies to Gaza.