A man was killed and two people were critically wounded by a Palestinian rocket
barrage on Beersheba on Saturday night, following a weekend that saw more than
80 rockets fired into southern Israel from Gaza.
A woman was fighting
for her life at Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba.
'I heard an enormous explosion, and thought of my
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there were also treating five more people who were injured by the rocket, which
slammed into a residential street, destroying a vehicle and a
Television footage showed shell-shocked residents, the remains of
the vehicle and the burnt-out home.
Several people went into shock
following the attacks, and required medical care.
The man who was killed in the attack was on his way to his nine-month pregnant wife after hearing the air raid sirens and becoming concerned for her safety, media reports said.
Police have instructed
residents of the South to remain in safe zones and to remain tuned in to
instructions from the IDF Home Front Command.
Sirens were heard in
Beersheba shortly before the rocket salvo struck the city. A witness told
Channel 10 the injured had stood as close as they could to a wall to seek cover,
when the rocket hit right next to them.
The hospital said two people were
in critical condition (one was a woman, the other was unidentified), two were in
serious condition and two others sustained moderate wounds.
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch arrived at the scene of the attack in Beersheba, placing the blame for the assault squarely on the shoulders of Hamas.
"Hamas is responsible, it controls the Gaza Strip," Aharonovitch stated.
Aharonovitch vowed that Hamas would pay a heavy price for the attacks on Israeli citizens.
was part of a wider barrage, with locals hearing at least 11
A few minutes earlier, a Grad rocket from Gaza smashed into a
home in Ofakim, starting a fire and sending shrapnel and debris flying, and
wounding a four-month-old boy, a nine-year- old boy and a man in his early 20s.
Emergency crews put out the fire and paramedics evacuated the three to Soroka in
Beersheba with light injuries.
Three more Grad rockets were fired from
Gaza at Ofakim.
There were conflicting reports over whether Hamas or the
Popular Resistance Committees was behind the Beersheba and Ofakim rocket
The two attacks were the latest in two days of rockets fired at
cities, towns and farming communities throughout the South.
Saturday, a Grad rocket fired toward Ashkelon was intercepted by the Iron Dome
rocket defense system.
The Color Red warning siren was sounded in the
city before the interception. Ten mortar shells exploded in the Eshkol Regional
Council, one of which hit in a kibbutz causing light damage to a
Sixteen rockets from Gaza struck in the Eshkol Regional Council
alone over the weekend.
The rocket fire had intensified in the morning,
with projectiles hitting in the Negev and the Lachish police
The IDF Spokesman’s Office said more than 45 rockets had
been fired at Israel by Saturday afternoon.
Police bomb squad officers
have retrieved the remains of 18 rockets.
The Lachish subdistrict was hit
with 28 rockets and the Negev subdistrict was hit with nine rockets by late
Beersheba was also targeted on Saturday morning, when a rocket
hit on its outskirts. Four people in the Bnei Shimon Regional Council, north of
the city, were hurt while running for shelter as warning sirens sounded, while
another four went into shock and required medical care.
Early on Saturday
morning, three Palestinians working in Israel illegally were injured when a
number of Grad rockets exploded in a field in southern Ashdod.
sirens could be heard throughout the city before the blasts.
said the casualties suffered shrapnel wounds to the neck, chest and other parts
of the body. Two were in serious condition.
Vehicles and homes were
damaged in Gaza-border communities, as well, during the afternoon.
Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council was struck on several occasions by dozens of
rockets and mortars. Route 35 was damaged in the Lachish region and sealed off
to traffic for hours by police.
Southern police chief Cmdr. Yossi
Prienti held an evaluation meeting on Saturday with representatives from the IDF
including the Home Front Command, the Shin Bet (IsraelSecurity Agency) and Magen
David Adom. The meeting concluded with a decision to maintain the increase in
the number of emergency personnel in the South, many of whom were sent as
reinforcements since the terrorist attacks near Eilat on Thursday.
reinforcements are meant to allow swift arrival at numerous rocket impact sites.
All public events have been canceled.
Police will continue increased
patrols in Eilat and in the hotel area, and checkpoints will remain in the area
to check all incoming traffic.
On Friday morning, one person was
seriously wounded, another moderately injured and five more lightly wounded when
a Grad rocket struck in the courtyard of a yeshiva in Ashdod.
were on their way to morning prayers there.
A second rocket attack saw a
projectile strike a synagogue.
The rocket became lodged in the
synagogue’s roof but failed to detonate. Police bomb squad officers were forced
to destroy the building to safely neutralize the explosive, and a bulldozer
demolished the structure after holy items were removed.
Five other people
were treated for shock following the attack.
All were taken to Kaplan
Medical Center in Rehovot.