In what was the heaviest rocket barrage against Israel in two years, 55 projectiles were fired from Gaza into Israel on Wednesday evening, March 12. The rockets were reported to have been launched from east Gaza City neighborhood of Shuja’iyya. Islamic Jihad’s military wing, Al-Quds Brigades claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks.
In Sderot, several sirens were sounded warning residents of impending rockets. One rocket reportedly landed near a municipal library. “We heard four Color Red sirens and an explosion,” Meital Ohayon of Sderot told Tazpit News Agency. Ohayon had been dressing her children in Purim costumes at the time of the attacks.
Elsewhere in southern Israel, a 57-year-old woman broke her hip as she raced to make it to a shelter in time.
The IDF stated that eight rockets had hit urban, civilian areas including Sderot. The IDF Spokesperson’s Office added that the Iron Dome rocket defense system intercepted three rockets.
Rocket warning sirens were heard across Israeli communities bordering the Gaza Strip including the Eshkol Regional Council and Sdot Negev Regional Council as well as Netivot and Beer Sheva.
The head of the Eshkol Regional Council, Haim Yellin stated that “since Operation Pillar of Defense, we have experienced quiet and we are finally living normal daily routines. This was the most significant escalation since that operation. The government of Israel must act accordingly both militarily and on a state level so that the quiet will return.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded saying that “It seems that the rocket fire came in response to our counter-terrorism operations yesterday. We will continue to thwart and harm those who wish to harm us and will against them with great intensity.”
Islamic Jihad declared that the firing of the rockets was in retaliation for Israel’s targeting and killing of three Islamic Jihad operatives as they prepared to fire at Israel from the Gaza Strip the previous day, on Tuesday, March 11.
Israel also recently intercepted an Iranian shipment of rockets heading to the Gaza Strip last week. Israeli military sources said that the 409 rockets on that shipment which also included arms were intended for Islamic Jihad.