Two Israelis Killed in Lod in New Wave of Rocket Attacks From Gaza
A father and his teenage daughter were killed in a rocket strike in the Israeli city of Lod early Wednesday morning, Israeli media reported, in another wave of missile fire launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel by Palestinian terror groups.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it had struck hundreds of terror targets in the Gaza Strip over the previous 24 hours, the largest such operation since 2014.
On Tuesday night, sires blared above Tel Aviv and surrounding areas as the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist groups sent over 130 rockets at central Israel, killing a 50-year-old woman in Rishon LeZion.
In Holon, south of Tel Aviv, two people were seriously injured and two others moderately injured — including a 5-year-old girl — after a direct hit by a rocket on a bus, according to the Israeli outlet N12.
Residents reported that many of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, while Ben Gurion Airport temporarily halted air traffic.
Throughout Tuesday, the IDF continued a major offensive against Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip, killing the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s special rocket unit, and the head of Hamas’ anti-tank guided missile unit in Gaza City, among other members of the terrorist groups.
“We stand united against a reprehensible enemy. We all grieve for those who have been killed,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a press conference Tuesday night.”This campaign will take time. With determination, unity and strength, we will restore security to the citizens of Israel.”
“We will continue to attack extensively,” said IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi. “The terrorist organizations in Gaza will pay a more expensive price than they have paid so far and we are prepared to expand the campaign as needed.”
During Monday night and parts of Tuesday, Hamas fired one rocket every three minutes from Gaza. Two women were killed in an attack earlier Tuesday in Ashkelon, including a 32-year-old mother of one who was a citizen of India.
“What is taking place right now is an honor for our people, our nation,” said Hamas terror chief Ismail Haniyeh on Tuesday, following the wave of rockets fired at central Israel. “There is a new balance of power right now.”
The IDF operation, dubbed Guardian of the Walls, has hit over 500 targets, including Hamas attack tunnels, a Hamas intelligence facility, and weapons manufacturing and storage sites, Kochavi said.
“The successful interception rate by the Iron Dome system is more than 90% which is a true life saver for Israeli civilians living across southern Israel,” said IDF Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus. “We targeted militants and terrorists in the Gaza Strip during the night and are prepared to continue to do this until Hamas gets the message that this type of attack against Israel is totally not acceptable and they are the ones who will be held responsible for their aggression.”
Earlier Tuesday at an assessment, Kochavi ordered the Gaza division to be reinforced, including infantry and armored brigades, along with higher preparedness for air defense, intelligence and air force units. He also emphasized that the IDF will continue to act resolutely to restore security to the residents of the South, and all headquarters must prepare for the expansion of the operation, without a time limit.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz authorized the call up of about 5,000 reservist soldiers for various IDF units, including the Southern Command, the Home Front Command and the Operations Division.
IDF’s Conricus reported that one in every three rockets that the Hamas fired from Gaza into Israel doesn’t make it into Israel but instead falls into the Gaza and endangers Palestinians, causing damage and casualties inside the Strip.
“The sad reality is that Hamas and Islamic Jihad have purposefully embedded themselves within the civilian population. They are using their civilians, the Palestinians, their homes, schools, hospitals, and mosques in Gaza as human shields and are making it virtually impossible for us to strike only those involved in military activity,” Conricus said.
In the southern city of Ashkelon an empty school — closed today due to the ongoing attacks — was hit by a rocket fired from Gaza. In the aftermath of a rocket bombardment in Israel’s South, Magen David Adom paramedics provided medical treatment to a few people injured lightly by glass shards and to people who suffered panic attacks in Ashkelon and Ashdod following numerous rocket attacks.
Editor’s note: this article will be updated with developing events