Dozens of rockets were fired at Israel over the weekend, leading to the death of a father of four and wounding several others, including a baby girl. The IDF responded by striking targets in Gaza, hitting multiple terrorists in clashes that followed a Gaza rocket attack on Wednesday. At least two reports of ceasefires appeared to have been premature or violated as of Sunday night.
As of Sunday evening, Gaza terrorists had launched around 40 rockets and mortars Israel since Friday, according to an IDF spokesperson speaking with The Mideast Update by email. He said that the Iron Dome missile defense system “successfully intercepted a number of rockets.”
The original ceasefire reports were less successful. Haaretz, citing Israel’s Channel 10 and Channel 2, reported that Egyptian sources said the Egyptians were attempting to broker a ceasefire for 10 pm Sunday night. However, the IDF Spokesperson’s Twitter Feed reported additional Gaza rocket attacks after the ceasefire time. This marked the second time in one day that claims regarding an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire did not lead to genuine calm.
According to the email sent to The Mideast Update from the IDF spokesperson, the weekend escalation actually began last Wednesday, when a rocket was fired from Gaza and landed near the Israeli coastal city of Ashdod, home to more than 230,000 residents. Israel responded to that attack by hitting three “terror activity sites” and an additional weapons storage facility, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s blog.
Things then heated up over the weekend in the most intense rocket barrage from Gaza since August. The IDF Spokesperson’s Blog said that in response to the attacks Israel targeted terror targets, including hitting multiple rocket squads preparing to fire. One of those squads was responsible for Wednesday’s launch.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted as making clear Israel would respond to the attacks. In comments at Sunday’s cabinet meeting that were published on the Prime Minister’s Office website, Netanyahu said, “I promise here that the other side will pay prices that are far higher than those that it has paid up until now, until it stops firing… The IDF will defend the residents of the south and will eliminate those who launch missiles.”
The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website said the Israeli fatality in the fighting was Moshe Ami, a 56-year-old grandfather with four children who was injured by rocket shrapnel. Ami suffered a severe abdominal injury and died from his wounds in the hospital, according to Yonatan Yagodovsky, the director of the Magen David Adom (Israeli emergency medical service) International Department.
Yagodovsky, speaking by phone with The Mideast Update, said as of Sunday afternoon Israel time that five people in three different cities had suffered physical shrapnel injuries from the rockets, including a baby girl. He said the victims ranged from lightly to moderately injured. Around a dozen had been taken to a hospital due to stress.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Blog reported that multiple buildings, including a school, were damaged by rocket attacks.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 30, 2011)