Photo Credit: courtesy, Israel Realtime
Iron Dome interception over Jerusalem

Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists — and possibly those from Hamas — aimed a barrage of rockets directly at Jerusalem and its surrounding areas at midday Friday, including Jewish communities in Gush Etzion.

At least three explosions were heard in Efrat alone in the barrage that was fired a few minutes after 12 noon, just as Israeli children were being dismissed from their schools.


Photos on social media showed crowds of children waiting at bus stops as they were returning home from school, when the first Red Alert sirens began to wail.

Two long-range rockets fired toward the Jerusalem area were intercepted, one by the Iron Dome, and the second by the longer-range David’s Sling aerial defense systems.

Iron Dome interception over Jerusalem on May 12, 2023

The event marked the third such interception by the David’s Sling system since the start of Operation Shield and Arrow this past Tuesday. One interception by the system took place over Tel Aviv on Wednesday; the second took place over Rishon Lezion on Thursday. Each interceptor missile for David’s Sling comes with a $1 million price tag.

Residents reported hearing the explosions in Jerusalem, Gush Etzion and Beit Shemesh.

One rocket reportedly landed in an open area near the Gush Etzion community of Bat Ayin, a small town nestled in the Judean Hills. There were two interceptions over Har Gilo. Shrapnel from one of the interceptions landed near Beit Shemesh. No physical injuries reported.

Numerous rockets were also fired at communities in the Gaza Envelope, Sderot, and Sapir College, and the rocket fire towards this area continued for at least half an hour following the attack on Jerusalem.

One home in Sderot sustained a direct hit, but no physical injuries were reported, according to the municipality.

The Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency response service treated multiple residents for severe anxiety.

The rocket fire resumed shortly after 11 am on Friday, more than 12 hours after attacks ended at around 10 pm Thursday night.

Earlier Thursday evening, a 70-year-old woman was killed and more than a dozen other people were wounded in rocket fire that destroyed the second floor of an apartment building in Rehovot, and directly struck homes in Sderot.

The rocket that struck Rehovot was Iranian-made; it succeeded in the strike due to a technical issue that caused the Iron Dome interceptor missile to miss the incoming projectile.

The Israel Defense Forces carried out multiple air strikes in Gaza throughout the morning, and was reportedly attacking the southern city of Rafah, along Gaza’s border with Egypt.

Since the start of Operation Shield and Arrow on Tuesday morning, the IDF struck 215 positions of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization.

IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters on Friday that Israeli strikes in Gaza killed 16 terrorist and 10 civilians, and another four civilians were killed by PIJ terrorist rockets that fell short.

Regarding the rocket that hit Rehovot, killing one, he says there was a technical issue that caused the interceptor missile not to hit the incoming projectile.


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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, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.