Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post
Booms were heard following an air raid siren in Tel Aviv Thursday evening, just an hour after a rocket from the Gaza Strip exploded in an open field outside of Rishon Lezion. There were no reports of injuries in either strike.
The attacks mark the first time the center of the country was hit renewed violence from the Gaza Strip. The incident was also the first time that a real siren was sounded in Tel Aviv since the Gulf War in the early 1990s. Palestinian Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the rocket on Tel Aviv.
The rockets, among 277 fired from Gaza into the South since the IDF launched Operation Pillar of Defense Wednesday to root out the terror infrastructure in the coastal territory, landed less than 15 km south of Tel Aviv. The operation began with the Wednesday afternoon targeted killing of Ahmed Jabari, the chief of Hamas's military wing.
The first rocket fired toward the Center hit in an open area near Rishon Lezion. The second rocket fired toward the greater Tel Aviv area "did not hit the ground," the IDF Spokesman said.
Earlier Thursday, three people were killed and two others injured in a direct hit on a Kiryat Malachi apartment building. Hours later, a rocket fired into the Eshkol region injured three IDF soldiers, two moderately.
MDA paramedics treated five wounded people at the site of the Kiryat Malachi attack, in which a rocket hit a four-story building. Three people were pronounced dead on the scene and two others were suffering moderate injuries, including a baby.
A house in Ashdod and a school in Ofakim near Beersheba also sustained damage from rockets on Thursday morning. Rockets also landed in the Eshkol Regional Council area, Gan Yavne and Ashkelon.
The IDF Spokesman's Office stated the Iron Dome rocket defense system has successfully intercepted more than 85 rockets since the operation began.
A separate IDF spokesman confirmed that all Palestinian terror factions took part in rocket fire overnight Wednesday, with Hamas trying to take the lead. (...)