Hamas pounds cities as IDF continues air raids

Gaza fire kills soldier, civilian; IAF strikes disrupt launches.

IAF strike on media building in Gaza 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)
IAF strike on media building in Gaza 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)
Terrorists in Gaza fired intense rocket salvos at Israeli city centers throughout Tuesday, trying to overwhelm the Iron Dome rocket shield, and striking a number a buildings.
A mortar attack on the Eshkol region claimed the life of 18-year-old soldier Yosef Partuk, from Emanuel. The IDF posthumously promoted him to the rank of corporal.
The shell also wounded six soldiers.
A Hamas rocket killed Alayaan Salem al-Nabari, a 29-year-old Beduin man from the Rahat area.
Direct rocket strikes in Rishon Lezion and Ashdod wounded several civilians.
Magen David Adom spokesman Zaki Heller said MDA paramedics on Tuesday treated 112 Israelis, including three who were wounded by shrapnel – one seriously and two lightly – and 27 who sustained injuries while running for safe rooms.
MDA also treated 82 people who suffered from shock.
According to National Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, Gazans fired 170 rockets into Israel on Tuesday.
Of those, the Iron Dome intercepted 53. Every major city in the South was hit, Rosenfeld added, including five separate strikes on Beersheba alone.
A rocket was also fired at Jerusalem, triggering air raid sirens. It hit near Bethlehem.
Earlier, shelling moderately wounded an IDF reservist near Gaza.
More than 140 rockets pounded southern Israel throughout the day. A grocery in Ashdod was destroyed by a rocket that sent shrapnel flying, wounding seven people.
A home in Ashkelon also sustained a direct hit, sustaining widespread damage.
Waves of rockets targeted Beersheba, sending residents to bomb shelters repeatedly.
The Iron Dome shot down more than 50 incoming projectiles over cities. The five batteries have intercepted some 400 rockets since the IDF operation to stop Palestinian rocket fire began last Wednesday.
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Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip, the Israel Air Force struck dozens of rocket launchers, attack tunnels and terrorists in their vehicles.
Reuters reports that in six days of fighting more than 125 Palestinians have been killed including around 30 children.
Fifty percent of Tuesday’s air strikes targeted rocket launchers as they were firing projectiles. Three percent were directed at command and control centers, while 22% hit other rocket launchers, many hidden underground.
Twelve percent of the IAF strikes were aimed at disrupting launches, and 4% targeted weapons production sites.
Eight percent of the strikes targeted terror tunnels, and 1% hit official Hamas regime buildings.
Since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense (in Hebrew, Pillar of Cloud), the air force has hit 1,450 terrorist targets.
An air strike killed Islamic Jihad member Yuni Shaluf, who was responsible for firing rockets on Eilat earlier this year. The IAF also struck the home of Azi Abudma, a regional Hamas commander.
The air force bombed dozens of Palestinian terrorist cells during the day that were in the process of setting up rocket launchers to fire at Israel.
Jets targeted underground rocket launchers as well.
A total of 30 rocket launchers and 40 attack tunnels – dug to infiltrate Israel and kidnap soldiers – were destroyed.
IDF tanks and artillery fired on targets as well. In the evening, the navy fired on Hamas targets along the Gaza coast.
The IAF also bombed a terror cell that had set up a position on the Gaza border and was about to fire an anti-tank missile at a kibbutz.
Earlier, the IDF dropped leaflets on the northern and eastern Gaza Strip instructing civilians to leave for central Gaza at once.
“For your safety, you are requested to evacuate your homes immediately and head toward central Gaza City via the following roads,” one leaflet said, going on to outline routes for civilians.
On Tuesday morning, a Palestinian rocket demolished a home in Beersheba.
The family living there survived by taking cover in the safe room.
“We heard an earth-shattering blast, and then the electricity went. We could feel the heat from the rocket,” a girl who survived the attack told Channel 10.
“We want to live here in our country. It is my only home,” she said. “We trust the IDF to continue [with the Gaza operation], so that we can live without constant fear from the next siren.”
Before that, the IAF struck the Salafi Jihadi Army of Islam group in southern Gaza, striking two vehicles carrying the organization’s leadership. The Army of Islam took part in the crossborder kidnapping of IDF tank gunner Gilad Schalit in June 2006.
Ben Hartman contributed to this report. •