Gaza’s Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups pulled out the long-range rockets in the wee hours of Thursday morning, targeting Israeli communities from south to north, the Mediterranean coast and the coastal plains.
Red Alert rocket sirens awakened sleeping Israelis — at least those who went to bed — sending them back to the bomb shelters for another night of “up-and-down” with barrages fired at Israelis at 1 am and again at close to 2 am. A third barrage was fired from Gaza at around 2:30 am.
One rocket slammed exactly into the space between two apartment buildings in Petach Tikva, setting off gas cylinders outside the buildings, which burst into flames.
“There was huge damage,” said a reporter on the scene from Channel N12 News. “The rocket landed in between buildings and smack in the middle of a crowded neighborhood. And yet, there were no serious injuries (at least so far — rescue workers are still searching the building), the electricity is still working and there is a water leak from one of the buildings. No one appears to have been killed. A miracle.”
Most of the vehicles parked beneath the buildings went up in flames. Five people were wounded in the attack, most of them elderly; two suffered from smoke inhalation and three others sustained shrapnel wounds. The flames were being extinguished by Israeli firefighters. IDF Home Front Command and Israel Police were also on site to help.
Residents of communities as far east as Efrat, as far north as Netanya and as far south as as Ashkelon heard the “booms” of Iron Dome interceptions of those rockets that were heading for populated areas. The loud “boom” of the Iron Dome anti-missile system was heard in multiple other locations.
Israel’s Channel 12 News reported two people with injuries in Tel Aviv, both while running for a bomb shelter.
In Rishon Lezion, one building was hit, and an apartment was damaged, but no physical injuries were reported and no people suffering from trauma or anxiety. The family was safely in its “mamad” — the built-in bomb shelter that is now part of standard Israeli building codes.
Israeli forces have not been idle either, however. The IDF said troops struck a Hamas naval force cell; fighter pilots were still in the air carrying out non-stop air strikes targeting terrorist positions and for the first time, also Hamas’ financial institutions and other symbols of the Hamas government.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late Wednesday night that operations in Gaza will continue for at least another week, according to Israel’s Channel N12 News.
IDF Home Front Command issued an order Wednesday cancelling all classes across the country until at least Friday, and permitting workers to go to their workplaces only if there is a bomb shelter close by.