Hamas Rockets Fired from Gaza Continue to Rain Down on Israeli Communities
Families stay in shelters overnight.
Dozens of rockets and mortar shells fired from Gaza.
“Iron Dome” Missile Defense System Protects Cities.
Dozens of rockets and mortars were fired at Israel’s southern communities by Iran-backed Hamas in Gaza Saturday. There were no casualties but tens of thousands of people were forced to take refuse in bomb shelters.
The number of rockets and mortars fired by Iranian-backed terrorists in Gaza this year has already jumped well the 238 fired in all of last year. According to the count maintained by The Israel Project, it now totals 312 – of which more than 80 were fired since Friday night.
Three Grad rockets, which have longer range and carry greater destructive power, were fired at the Israeli town of Ofakim Saturday, one exploding near a school. A mortar shell exploded in the center of a rural community in the Eshkol region causing damage.
“Iron Dome”, a defensive system deployed by the Israeli Air Force, intercepted two Grad rockets fired at Beersheba, which is southern Israel’s largest city, and at Ofakim early Saturday according to the Israel Defense Forces. Iron Dome has intercepted 8 rockets in the recent escalation.
The Haaretz newspaper quoted Israeli security sources as saying that Hamas passed on a message to Israel requesting a ceasefire.
According to the sources, Israel is willing to agree to the request and will wait to reevaluate its position after seeing if there is indeed a halt in rocket and mortar fire into southern Israel. Meanwhile, Palestinian sources on Saturday night reported that an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at a terrorist cell in Gaza City, killing one of the terrorists and wounding four.
On Thursday, Hamas terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli school bus traveling on a road close to the Gaza border and taking students back home. One 16-year-old boy was badly injured.
Haim Yalin, head of the Eshkol Regional Council, which has been pounded by rockets and mortars from Gaza, told The Jerusalem Post the scale of the Hamas assault on his community was the same as during the 2009 Operation Cast Lead.
"This has been going on for 3 days now. It's the same number of rockets as Cast Lead. The feeling is that we are back to that situation all over again. This is an emergency situation," Yalin said.
Ynet reports Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon as saying Saturday, “We shall work to prevent Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip to try and hurt us." He added: "Until there is willingness for peace, we know we are exposed to recurring cycles of terror."