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At least 4 rockets intercepted over Tel Aviv area as heavy barrage launched from Gaza
By YAAKOV LAPPIN,JPOST.COM STAFF
07/16/2014
Salvo of rockets sets off Code Red alert sirens in Ashdod, Herzliya, Ramat Hasharon and Petah Tikva; 2 rockets fall in Dimona; home in Tel Aviv hit by shrapnel.
 

Video: Ofer Arieh



Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired more than 150 rockets at Israel on Wednesday, targeting major cities in the Center and South, and the IDF struck 160 targets across Gaza on the ninth day of the conflict.

Meanwhile, the cabinet authorized the call-up of 8,000 additional reservists to assist in the military operations along the Gaza frontier.

The IDF has already called up 48,000 reservists, bringing the total to 56,000.

Iron Dome batteries intercepted 30 projectiles heading toward built-up areas on Wednesday, and 74 rockets hit such areas, including one that damaged a home in Ashdod.

Several civilians sustained injuries while running for shelter during air raid sirens.

The IDF launched waves of air strikes targeting underground rocket launchers, rocket production centers, and at least 10 terrorists who were engaged in rocket fire.

Also on Wednesday, the military opened an investigation after Gazan medical sources said Israeli shells killed four boys on a Gaza beach that day. The IDF said it was looking into whether the deaths were the result of an air strike or navy shelling, or of another incident, adding that details were not yet clear.

Initial findings from the IDF investigation into the incident found that the area was struck after the military identified terrorists operating in it.

“If noncombatant civilians were harmed, than this is a tragic incident,” the IDF said.

“It’s important to remember the cynical use Hamas makes of civilians in the Strip, who are held by it as hostages, and this causes the IDF to cancel strikes on many occasions, as recent days have shown.”

The military added that it “has no intention of harming civilians who find themselves in a reality of combat created by Hamas,” the IDF said.

Ashkelon and Ashdod came under rocket fire in the evening, with the Iron Dome intercepting most of the projectiles, and one rocket striking an open area near Ashdod.

Gaza border areas came under heavy rocket fire throughout the day.

On Wednesday morning, four rockets were fired at Greater Tel Aviv; the Iron Dome intercepted all of them.

Fragments from the interceptions fell in several locations in the city. Two rockets fired at Dimona hit open areas.

In an earlier barrage on the South, one rocket struck between two houses in a community in the Be’er Tuviya region. A woman suffered light wounds from shrapnel and was taken to the hospital.

Sirens went off in Be’er Tuviya, Kiryat Malachi and surrounding areas, and the Iron Dome intercepted one rocket over Kiryat Malachi.

Four others hit open areas.

Earlier, eight rockets were fired toward Ashkelon; six were intercepted, while two struck open areas around the city. Before that, four rockets hit open areas in the Eshkol region.

Israel urged the evacuation of several districts in the Gaza Strip, and Hamas urged the civilians to remain in their homes. At least 20,000 civilians in northern Gaza have left their homes, according to a number of media reports.

The IDF dropped leaflets in northern Gaza for residents of the Gaza City neighborhoods of Sajaya and Zeitun, and in Beit Lahiya, as well as sending recorded messages and placing calls, warning civilians to leave. The leaflets told residents that despite a truce, Hamas and terror organizations continued to fire rockets, and the IDF therefore planned to strike with powerful force against terrorists and targets in Sajaya and Zeitun.

“From these areas, rocket fire is being launched against the State of Israel,” the leaflets read. “For your safety, you are requested to leave your homes immediately and travel toward Gaza City by Wednesday at 8 a.m. The IDF does not wish to harm you or your families.

Clear the area to safeguard your lives. Do not return to the area until further notice. Anyone who does not listen to these instructions... endangers his life and that of his family.”

The IAF struck 39 terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday, making a total of 1,750 targets since the start of the operation. The IAF launched four targeted strikes on terrorist operatives overnight, and targeted operational infrastructure used to fire rockets into Israel. The navy fired on positions of armed organizations along the coast.

On Wednesday morning, the army said that in the past 24 hours, 100 targets had been hit, including 47 underground launchers, tunnels, weapons production and storage facilities, and training camps.
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