Hamas terrorists launched a blanket of missile fire at central and southern Israel Thursday evening in an effort to penetrate the protective shield provided by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.
The IDF meantime warned Gaza residents living near the border that it was in their best interest to evacuate the area. Operation Protective Edge is about to heat up.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spent the day on the phone with world leaders, warning that this time Israel would not end its operation until Hamas stops firing rockets at Israeli civilians. The prime minister said at a security cabinet meeting Thursday afternoon that Israel would ramp up Operation Protective Shield by nightfall.
IDF Southern Commander Sami Turgeman told journalists at a news conference Thursday the IDF would “intensify the action.” The enemy has more rockets and more of them, Turgeman explained. “More of the terrorist structure will be hit. We are preparing all the capabilities, and will utilize them as they are needed….The results Hamas finds when it comes out of hiding will surprise it.”
Meanwhile, barrages of domestic produced M75s and Syrian-made M302s were fired at the metro Jerusalem area. One landing near a Bedouin community on the outskirts of the northern Jerusalem suburb of Ma’ale Adumim.
Another barrage was aimed at the Dan region, including the cities of Bat Yam, Holon and Rishon LeZion. The Iron Dome system intercepted at least one missile fired in that direction.
Color Red rocket alert sirens wailed through the southern Hebron Hills — including the communities of Kiryat Arba, Pnei Hever, Carmel, Maon, Avigail, Susya, Yatir, Otniel, Shani, and Machane Yatir.
Missiles went flying towards the Negev cities of Be’er Sheva, Mitzpe Ramon, Dimona, Yerucham and for the first time, Arad residents headed to the shelters as well.
The Iron Dome anti-missile system activated to intercept at least one missile heading for Dimona, sources said.
The Hamas terrorist organization claimed in a statement that it had fired 10 new Iranian-made Sajl missiles in Thursday’s attacks on Israel.
The Color Red rocket alert siren activated as far east as the Ein Bokek and Tamar Regional Council district, which includes the hotel strip at the southern end of the Dead Sea, several moshavim and kibbutzim near the Jordanian border, Masada, and Kibbutz Ein Gedi.
One missile struck a home in Be’er Sheva, but the residents were safely waiting out the attack in their fortified shelter within the house and were not harmed. Another missile landed near a sports center in the city; several people were injured in that attack, according to a report broadcast on Channel 2.
A house was also hit in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council district. In Sderot, one rocket landed between two parked cars. Another struck a home in the city, which is located barely a mile from the Gaza border.
Nine rockets were fired simultaneously at targets in the Eshkol Regional Council district, close to the southern border. No one was injured in that attack.
Altogether, more than 20 missiles were fired simultaneously in the evening barrage at targets around the country.
In a separate attack, a group of 10 cows were killed and many others were hurt after a missile struck a cowshed in a moshav near Ashdod.
About the Author: Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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