(photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM JERUSALEM)
A Gazan mortar strike on Kibbutz Nirim in the Eshkol region killed two people on Tuesday, an hour before a cease-fire went into effect.
One victim died immediately, and one died in hospital.
A further 5 people were wounded, including one who was evacuated in serious condition. The rest were moderately or lightly hurt by shrapnel.
The mortar shell hit next to a swimming pool; paramedics began treating the wounded as shells and rockets continued to pound the area.
According to a spokesman for the Eshkol region, on Tuesday alone terrorists fired 116 rockets and mortar shells into the area, the most it has taken during the 50 days of Operation Protective Edge.
The morning of day 50 of the operation was a difficult one for the home front. A rocket struck a house in Ashkelon, and hurt 79 people, including 39 people lightly wounded by flying glass and shrapnel, seven of them children. The other 40 victims suffered from shock.
The rocket struck a couple’s bedroom, moments after they left the room to rush their two teenage children to the family’s safe room.
No one was hurt, though the house was severely damaged.
The rocket was heading toward greater Tel Aviv when its engine apparently failed, sending it hurling down into Ashkelon.
Tuesday saw some of the heaviest rocket and mortar fire of the war, with the army reporting 182 launchings from the Gaza Strip. A total of 148 impact sites were found, five of them in built-up areas, the IDF Spokesman’s Office said. In addition, the Iron Dome system intercepted 27 rockets, it said.
As in recent days, the majority of the projectiles were mortar shells and communities bordering the Gaza Strip bore the brunt of the attacks.
The IDF struck 60 terrorist targets across the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. The targets included two terrorist operatives who had fired on villages and towns near Gaza, and two members of a rocket team soon afterward.
The air force bombed a rocket launcher used to fire on greater Tel Aviv in the morning.
IAF jets also bombed a site Hamas repeatedly used to fire projectiles at Israel. The site, the Ali Bin Abi Talb school in Gaza City’s Zeitun neighborhood, was used to fire the mortar shell that killed a four-year-old boy in Kibbutz Nahal Oz on Friday, and to fire several rockets at Ashdod.
Most of the targets the air force hit were weapons storage and production centers, underground launchers and Hamas military sites, the army said.
The air force attacked two multi-story apartment blocks early on Tuesday where Hamas command centers were located, the IDF said.
Residents of the buildings were given warning and evacuated before the air strikes.