Iron Dome intercepts 27 out of 30 rockets fired at Beersheba, Ashdod, Ashkelon; IAF kills 15 Islamic Jihad operatives in Gaza strikes. Gantz: IDF to respond with determination to any attack
Palestinians from northern Gaza fired rockets at Beersheba, Ashdod and Gan Yavne early Saturday morning as the Color Red alert was sounded across Israel’s southern cities.
The IDF estimates that some 100 rockets have been fired at Israel since Friday. Meanwhile, a new Israeli air strike in Gaza killed two Palestinians riding on a motorcyle, Hamas officials and medics said on Saturday.
The attack followed the firing of rockets at Israel at the weekend, raises the death toll in escalating violence since Friday to 15.
Schools have been ordered closed during military aggressions.
Egypt has condemned Israel for their retaliations, but they fail to mention that it was the Palestinians who initiated the aggression with the firing of over 100 rockets into Israel.
The Iron Dome has successfully intercepted 27 out of 30 rockets fired at Beersheba, Ashdod and Ashkelon. The other two rockets exploded in open fields.
These are the highest success rates for the defense system to date. Gantz praised the IDF officials in charge of operating the system during the situation assessment.
A Home Front Command official said: “The Command’s instructions have proven to save lives and they should be followed. When an alarm is sounded or if there is an explosion – enter a safety area.” Israelis are also instructed to avoid large gatherings of more than 500.
Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich addressed the ongoing rocket fire on Saturday, saying: “This escalation cannot be ignored.” He added that he fully backs the government’s decision to green light targeted killings against terror cell leaders planning a terror attack in Israel.
“These terrorists must understand they bear the responsibility,” Danilovich emphasized. “Even if it causes tensions now, in the long run it will cause deterrence.”
Ashdod reported that the Iron Dome intercepted two rockets. The rocket fire continued throughout the night as two rockets fired at Beersheba from northern Gaza. One of the projectiles landed within city limits. No injuries or damage were reported.
In the early evening hours, the Iron Dome rocket defense system intercepted at least four Grad rockets fired at the southern communities of Ashdod, Gan Yavne and Kiryat Malachi.
The Color Red alert sounded in the Ashdod region immediately after the long-range rockets were fired, prompting residents to rush into bomb shelters and secured rooms. At least one rocket landed in an open area in the city’s vicinity.
IDF kills terror chief
Earlier Saturday, Gaza sources claimed 12 Palestinians have been killed in IDF attacks overnight, including a commander of the terrorist group behind the abduction of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was held captive for more than five years and freed in a prisoner swap for more than 1,000 Palestinians.
The Israeli military said it initially targeted Zuhair al-Qaissi, the commander of the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committee, a large terrorist group closely aligned with Gaza’s Hamas rulers. The explosion tore apart al-Qaissi’s blue sedan and killed his son-in-law, Mahmoud Hanini – himself a top PRC field commander.
Four people were injured in Eshkol Regional Council, including one critical injury and another mildly injured.
According to the IDF, shortly after midnight, the IAF targeted two terror cells gearing to fire rockets at Israel, killing two terrorists. Palestinian sources said at least two people were killed in the strike, near the Palestinian parliament in central Gaza City.
Iron Dome system Commander says troops making tremendous effort to achieve successful results; ‘We have capability to keep going,’ he says
Lieutenant Colonel Gilad Biran, the commander of the Iron Dome missile defense system told Ynet on Saturday that the troops operating the defense system have been working hard over the weekend to make sure that rockets are intercepted.
“We are making a tremendous effort to achieve results. We are ready for what’s coming,” he said.
The missile defense system has intercepted 27 out of the 30 rockets launched at Israel’s southern cities. “We have the capability to keep going if the situation persists,” Biran added.
However, Air Force officials stressed that the Iron Dome does not provide complete protection, and that citizens are urged to follow the safety instructions issued by the Home Front Command.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IAF Chief Major General Ido Nehushtan visited the troops operating the Iron Dome missile defense system, and told them: “We are acting defensively and offensive, and are making efforts to do it to the best of our abilities.”
Barak said: “We are currently showing a 90% rate of successful interception – 27 out of 30 rockets. The Iron Dome does not only protect civilians, but also gives the political and military echelons more flexibility in responding to threats.
“We won’t let anyone harm our civilians. Those who try to launch a rocket or plan an attack will pay a heavy price, and no one will be granted immunity,” said Barak.
South under fire; IDF kills 12 terrorists
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Home Front Command issues safety guidelines
Some 100 rockets hit Israel since Friday
IAF kills 3 more militants