Following the launch of Israel's operation Pillar of Defense against terrorist targets in Gaza, rocket fire from Gaza resumed
on Wednesday evening (14 Nov), with a salvo of over 50 Grad rockets fired
towards Israel's southern cities.
Rockets in Kiryat Malachi, Nov 15, 2012 (Photo: GPO/Moshe Milner)
More than 1,200 rockets have been fired at Israel since Saturday (10 Nov), over 1,000 since the start of Operation Pillar
of Defense (14 Nov), landing mostly in the south, killing three people
in Kiryat Malachi. The Iron Dome anti-missile
defense system intercepted about 300 rockets, preventing them from
striking populated areas in Israel.
On Thursday morning (Nov
15) three people were killed when a rocket hit an
apartment building in Kiryat Malachi: Mirah
Scharf, 25, Aharon
Smadja, 49, and Itzik
The apartment, on the top floor of the building, suffered a direct hit, with
shrapnel throughout the rooms.
* * *
PM Netanyahu (18 Nov): "Today
I will continue
to speak with world leaders. I appreciate the understanding that they are
showing for Israel's right to defend itself. In my talks with the leaders, I
emphasize the effort Israel is making to avoid hitting civilians, and this
at a time when Hamas and the [other] terrorist organizations are making every
effort to hit
civilian targets in Israel."
US President Obama at joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Thailand (18 Nov): "Let me start with Gaza. Let’s understand what the precipitating event here was that’s causing the current crisis, and that was an ever-escalating number of missiles; they were landing not just in Israeli territory, but in areas that are populated. And there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians. And we will continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself...
And so if we’re serious about wanting to resolve this situation and create a genuine peace process, it starts with no more missiles being fired into Israel’s territory, and that then gives us the space to try to deal with these longstanding conflicts that exist. "
Rocket hits in Israel since
the Hamas takeover of Gaza, 2006
* Based on an estimated 625 rocket hits as of
1200 hours, November 19 (the number of launchings, in our assessment, is about
three times greater than the number of hits).
range from Gaza.
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Israelis run for cover as a siren warns of incoming rockets in
where three were killed (Photo: Reuters)
Remains of a car hit by a rocket in Beersheba (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)
Israelis prepare to sleep in a bomb shelter in the southern town of Netivot (Photo: Reuters)
* * *
Over 120 rockets were fired at southern Israel from Gaza from Saturday evening (Nov 10) until November 13, 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.
Rocket fire - Nov 10-13, 2012
A total of 121 rocket hits identified in Israeli territory during the current escalation.
The number does not include mortar shells. Source: ITIC
- 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 (November 10) 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 IDF soldier who sustained critical head and eye injuries during Saturday's anti-tank missile attack on an IDF patrol jeep near the Gaza border remains hospitalized at the intensive care unit of the Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba, and his doctors say he may never see again.
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.
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 Gazaz.
PM Netanyahu (Nov 11): "The IDF is operating, and will operate, aggressively against the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, which are taking heavy blows from the IDF. 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."
Trails of smoke are seen after the launch of rockets from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel - November 11, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)
Defense Minister Barak: "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 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.
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.