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Rockets continue to rain on southern, central Israel

July 19, 2014 23:36

Iron dome interceptions over Shfela region and southern districts. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz says mission is to harm Hamas, destroy tunnels; 13 terrorists have been arrested by security officials.


A smoke trail is seen as a rocket is launched from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel July 16, 2014.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

As sirens wailed Saturday evening in southern and central Israel, a barrage of rockets hit Israel, mostly in open areas, as the Iron Dome anti-rocket system intercepted multiple rockets over major cities.

As of 8 p.m., air raid sirens were sounding in Beersheba, as a Rocket was intercepted. Several more landed in open areas. Two other rockets intercepted over Kiryat Gat while others fell outside the city.

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Earlier in the evening, the Iron Dome defense system intercepted a rocket. Another rocket hit an open area in the city, sparking a fire. Police and fire-fighting units are oat the scene.

In the south, two rickets landed in open fields in the Eshkol Regional Council. The Iron Dome intercepted three rockets over Beersheba and one over Ashkelon.

Twenty-nine Israelis were wounded in rocket attacks over the weekend, including a 30-year-old man killed in a Beduin area near Dimona on Saturday, Magen David Adom paramedics said Saturday afternoon.

In that incident, during which the man was mortally wounded by shrapnel that entered his chest, a three month old girl suffered serious head wounds from the shock-wave blast, a 30-year-old woman was badly hurt by shrapnel, and a four year old boy suffered shrapnel injuries to one of his legs.

MDA said that altogether they have treated some 394 Israelis have been injured since the start of the operation.

Since Thursday, IDF units operating in Gaza have unearthed 34 terror tunnels five of which spanned from the Strip into Israeli territory. The tunnels were destroyed, the IDF spokesperson's unit said. Over 70 terrorists were killed since the ground offensive began; 20 deaths were on Saturday alone. 

13 terrorists have been arrested and are being questioned by Israeli security forces. 450 terror sites were hit from land, sea and air.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz talked with Golani and Armored Corps units on Saturday, and said "Our mission is to harm Hamas, undermine its military and operational capabilities, and provide a better reality in terms of security for Israel and its southern territories." 

Gantz told the soldiers he was visiting, they must comb through "this area and locate all tunnels...This state of emergency means war."

"You have enemies," he said; "and a mission." He said the task in front of us was to neutralize the terror tunnels.

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