Two Israelis were killed and over 100 were injured on Tuesday afternoon when a new barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip hit Ashdod and Ashkelon, with a number of buildings receiving direct hits, including at least one home and a school. At least 40 rockets were launched from Gaza within one minute and over 300 rockets have struck Israel since Monday.
Four of those injured are members of the same family, with the father, 40, in serious to moderate condition, and the mother, 39, in moderate condition. The children are in light condition. They were evacuated to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon.
Another Israeli was seriously injured, another was moderately injured, and the rest were lightly injured. Two buildings in Ashdod and six buildings in Ashkelon suffered direct hits. At least two fires were ignited from rockets, including a car that caught on fire in Ashkelon.
A subsequent rocket hit in Ashkelon killed two Israelis and critically injured others in a direct hit on an apartment building.
2 dead in the direct rocket impact in Ashkelonhttps://t.co/PiPaBudE2b
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) May 11, 2021
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) May 11, 2021
Fortunately, the school that was hit was empty as all schools in southern Israel were ordered to be closed by the IDF. Schools in central Israel lacking proper bomb shelters were also closed, including those in Rishon L’Tzion, Bat Yam and Holon. Public bomb shelters were opened in cities in central Israel, including Tel Aviv.
The IDF also banned gatherings of over 10 people outdoors and 50 people indoors. Businesses can only remain open if they have accessible bomb shelters.
כוחות משטרת ישראל פועלים בשעה זו במספר זירות נפילה באזור הדרום – אנא הישארו בקרבת המרחב המוגן, הימנעו מהגעה לזירות השונות והישמעו להוראות השוטרים בשטח pic.twitter.com/EwAo0RUANA
— משטרת ישראל (@IL_police) May 11, 2021
In the midst of dealing with the impact of one missile that landed in the Ashkelon area, emergency crews had to drop to the ground when another barrage of missiles were launched. #israelunderfire#israelunderattack pic.twitter.com/zM9mPp3mYA
— Magen David Adom (@Mdais) May 11, 2021
תיעוד הפגיעות הישירות בעיר אשקלון
מתוך קבוצת ווטסאפ של תושבי אשקלון pic.twitter.com/uYJ9d1zqIu
— ישראל היום – הדף הרשמי (@IsraelHayomHeb) May 11, 2021
— Ofir Gendelman (@ofirgendelman) May 11, 2021
The Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups took responsibility for the rocket fire. Hamas issued a statement on Tuesday claiming that it fired 137 rockets within five minutes. “This was our biggest rocket attack yet and we have much more,” the statement said.
The barrage of rockets followed a night of continuous rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. The IDF, in an operation that has been named “Operation Guardian of the Walls,” carried out over 130 strikes in the Gaza Strip overnight Monday and on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated on Monday night that the fighting is likely to last for days and on Tuesday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved the call-up of 5,000 reserve soldiers in preparation for a large-scale operation in the Gaza Strip.
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi stated on Tuesday afternoon that the IAF will intensify its aerial bombardment of the Strip and has been told to target every terrorist in Gaza.
IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman said on Tuesday that the operation is expected to last several days and that the IDF will hit Hamas harshly in the coming day. “We have an intense day ahead of us,” Zilberman said at a press conference. “We have a goal and we won’t stop until we’ve achieved it.”
Islamic Jihad stated on Tuesday that two of its commanders were killed in an airstrike and another one, the brother of Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata, who was eliminated by Israel in 2019, was critically injured.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)