Over 120 rockets have been fired at southern Israel from Gaza since Saturday evening (Nov 10), hitting Sderot, Ashdod, Netivot, and the Eshkol, Shaar Hanegev and Hof Ashkelon councils. Several people suffered injuries on Sunday morning and many have been treated for panic. There has been extensive damage to homes, businesses and vehicles. Just a few examples:
- On Saturday night (Nov 10) the Iron Dome defense system intercepted Grad rockets headed for Ashdod and Beersheba, but two homes later suffered direct hits (Nov 11).
- On Monday morning a rocket exploded in the yard of a private home in Netivot causing extensive damage. Later a ceramics factory was hit.
- On Monday evening (Nov 12) two rockets fired at the city of Ofakim were intercepted.
- A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in an open area in Ashdod on Tuesday morning (Nov 13).
Ceiling of a home in Sderot which suffered a direct rocket hit (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)
Rocket fired from Gaza damaged a home in Netivot - Nov 12 (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)
The current crisis began on Saturday when an anti-tank missile fired from Gaza struck an IDF jeep near the Karni crossing wounding four soldiers, two seriously. An IDF force patrolling near the Karni crossing, inside Israel, sustained a direct hit by an anti-tank missile fired from a location east of the Gaza Strip neighborhoods of Zeitun and Sajaiya. Two soldiers suffered serious injuries and were airlifted to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. Two others were rushed to the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon in moderate condition, suffering from shrapnel wounds. The IDF responded to the source of fire.
The Home Front Command directed residents of communities near the Gaza Strip to remain within 15 seconds from protected areas and not to remain in open areas. Shortly after 9 pm the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system intercepted a rocket over the Israeli city of Ashdod. Another rocket fell in an open area near Ashdod.
In response to the rocket fire, IAF aircraft targeted a weapons manufacturing facility, two weapons storage facilities, and two rocket-launching sites in the northern Gaza Strip, as well as a weapons storage facility and a terror activity site in the southern Gaza Strip. Direct hits were confirmed.
Following the attack, the Defense Ministry ordered the temporary closing of the Kerem Shalom crossing, the main checkpoint through which goods are delivered to Gaza Strip. "The IDF will not risk the lives of the crossing's employees, or the troops stationed there, despite the great importance of ensuring goods and humanitarian aid are delivered to Gaza."
Trails of smoke are seen after the launch of rockets from the northern Gaza Strip
towards Israel - November 11, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)
"The IDF is operating, and will operate, aggressively against the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, which are taking heavy blows from the IDF," said PM Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement on November 11. "The world needs to understand that Israel will not sit idly by in the face of attempts to attack us. We are prepared to intensify the response."
Defense Minister Barak said in a statement: "The firing has been relentless today. As far as Israel is concerned, Hamas is responsible for the rocket-fire and all other attempts to harm our soldiers and civilians [from Gaza], even when other groups participate. And it is Hamas that will pay the heavy price; a price that will be painful."
"Israel will not accept in any shape or form Hamas' changing of the 'rules' along the border with the Gaza Strip. During the last two days, the IDF, upon my instruction, has been evaluating the host of options for harsher responses against Hamas and the other terror organizations in Gaza. We will strike with an ever-growing intensity."
In recent weeks, a number of incidents have occurred in the southern Gaza Strip, including an attack using explosives against an IDF armored personnel carrier, wounding a company commander, and another attack with explosives. On Thursday, November 8, an IDF engineering force located a number of powerful explosive devices to the west of the fence. After the IDF disarmed charges found on the Gaza side of the border, and were repairing the border fence, explosives in an underground tunnel were detonated, causing a large explosion that exposed a tunnel roughly four meters deep and four meters wide, damaging a jeep and lightly injuring a soldier.