Seven Israelis, including two toddlers, were injured when a rocket fired from Gaza landed in the living room of a home north of Tel Aviv during the early morning hours on Wednesday.
Now Israelis are gearing up for a strong military response and escalation in violence with the Palestinians. The Israeli military has called up reserves, sent troops to the border and deployed additional Iron Dome missile defense batteries throughout the country. The IDF also shut down a number of areas and road around the Gaza border. Israeli school children in the area were sent home early today and all public events in Ashkelon were cancelled.
The rocket, which took Israel by surprise, decimated most of the two-house structure in Moshav Mishmeret, and triggered the first siren heard there since 2014. The alarm sounded at 5:20 a.m. sending residents from their beds scrambling to their safe rooms.
The rocket smashed through the roof and exploded, carving a crater in the ground and spreading shrapnel throughout the house – even in the baby’s crib.“It’s a miracle that nobody got killed,” first responder paramedic Assi Dvilanski said.
The families involved made it to shelter in time and were injured by the shrapnel, but four pets were killed according to reports from the scene.
The large rocket represents the longest launch made from the Gaza Strip at more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) since the 2014 Gaza war.
Aside from unrest in Gaza and two rockets fired at Tel Aviv last week, which Hamas later claimed were triggered by mistake, Israel had no reason to expect an attack. So far, no terror group has claimed responsibility for today’s rocket, but the IDF said Hamas built the long-range weapon.
“The rocket was made by Hamas. The attack was carried out from a Hamas position in Rafiah,” IDF Spokesman Ronen Manelis said. “We consider Hamas responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip.”
Manelis said the Iron Dome defense system wasn’t activated because it only “protects the areas in which it is stationed, according to operational situation assessments.”He also said the IDF is preparing itself “for a variety of scenarios.”
“We are talking about a serious incident of a direct hit on a home,” Manelis said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently in the United States for the AIPAC conference, cut short his trip and will return to Israel today following a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.
“There was a criminal attack on the State of Israel, and we will respond forcefully,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “In a few hours, I will meet with President Trump and immediately afterwards I will return to Israel in order to oversee our activities.”
The situation is very serious and tensions in Gaza has been boiling over in recent weeks. With the launching of the rocket today that made a direct hit, plus the two rockets last week that reached the skies of Tel Aviv, the possibility of war is imminent. Please pray for safety and protection, plus peace, for all of Israel.