Hamas intensifies barrage of missiles on South

120 rockets launched into Israel Sunday; IAF targets group’s rocket chief and Jabari replacement; Iron Dome intercepts 2 Fajr-5 missiles over Tel Aviv.

Beersheba residents take shelter in a stairwell 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Beersheba residents take shelter in a stairwell 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Hamas fired its most intense rocket salvos yet on southern Israel on Sunday, as it and other terrorist factions launched 120 rockets into Israel during the day, including two Fajr-5 missiles at Tel Aviv on Sunday evening.
Both were intercepted over the Dan region.
The IAF struck over 120 targets in Gaza, and targeted senior operational Hamas terrorists orchestrating attacks on Israeli communities.
Palestinian sources reported a wave of IAF strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip on Sunday night. According to the unconfirmed reports, missiles were fired near the home in central Gaza of Hamas senior operative Marwan Issa, who has been named as the successor to military head Ahmad Jabari, killed in an air force strike on Wednesday.
The city was also targeted on Sunday morning, triggering the Iron Dome battery. A piece of shrapnel from a destroyed enemy projectile set a car in Holon on fire. The driver, an older man, tried to put out the fire, then removed items from the trunk before escaping as the vehicle was engulfed in flames.
Seventy-six rockets exploded during the course of the day in southern Israel, with Ashdod coming under its heaviest barrage yet by seven Grad rockets. Six were intercepted and one smashed into a residential building, wounding two residents lightly. The Iron Dome intercepted 38 rockets heading for built-up areas on Sunday.
Soon after the Ashdod grad salvo on Sunday afternoon, the IDF targeted the home of the head of Hamas’s rocket program, Yahiya Abiya.
Army sources said Abiya was directly responsible for the majority of the rockets that have been fired at Israel.
It was unclear whether Abiya was hurt.
Palestinian medical sources said 11 people died in the bombing of the three-story building.
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The Ma’an News Agency reported that the number of Palestinian dead since the current round of violence began last Wednesday afternoon rose to at least 72 on Sunday, with hundreds wounded.
Ashkelon came under heavy rocket attack on Sunday morning, with four rockets scoring direct hits. Terrified residents sought cover as rockets hit apartment buildings.
Two people were lightly wounded.
A Palestinian rocket seriously injured a man in the Sha’ar Hanegev region. Paramedics rushed him to the hospital.
Five civilians traveling in a vehicle in Ofakim were injured – one seriously – by shrapnel from a rocket.
On Sunday night, after a few hours of relative calm, the Code Red siren sounded once more in Ashdod, Hof Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi and other cities in the South.
“Today’s rocket salvos were especially intense, hitting specific cities with five or 10 rockets at a time,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
He added that in light of the heightened intensity of the salvos, it is especially important that people take cover immediately when the rocket warning siren sounds, and stay put until several seconds after the alarm is over.
Magen David Adom said its paramedics treated 40 wounded people on Sunday, including seven people hurt by shrapnel.
MDA also treated 31 people suffering from shock, including six in Tel Aviv following rocket fire toward the city.
“Rocket attacks on Israel continue, but their ability to launch rockets is decreasing,” IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen.
Yoav Mordechai said.
“Hamas is using the Palestinian population as a human shield. We have released footage of rocket fire from a mosque courtyard, prayer houses, public places and homes,” Mordechai added.
“Many of their rockets are falling inside the Gaza Strip.”
The IDF has hit more than 1,200 terrorist targets in Gaza since the beginning of the operation.
The army has completed preparations for a ground offensive, as it masses growing forces at the border with Gaza.
Training for such an offensive is complete.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.