VIDEO - Israel Police said eight people were killed by a direct rocket strike on a train depot in Haifa’s Shemen Beach. Magen David Adom paramedics treated dozens of people wounded in the attack and evacuated them to hospitals in the city.
The names of the victims were released for publication:
- Reuvan Levi, 43 year-old from Kiryat Ata
- Danis Lapidos, 24 year-old from Kiryat Yam
- Shmuel Ben Shimon, 41 year-old from Yokneam Ilit
- Nisim Elhariri, 43 year-old from Kiryat Ata
- Asa'el Damti, 39 year-old from Kiryat Yam
- David Feldman, 28 year-old from Kiryat Yam
- Sholomi Mansura, 35 year-old from Nahariya
- Rafi Hazan, 30 year-old from Haifa
The IDF has begun an initial investigation of the incident. Sources in the IDF told Ynet that Hizbullah used, for the first time, a different type of rocket against Haifa, the Fajr model. The rocket has a 40 kilometer range, and can carry a larger amount of explosives than the Katyusha.
Northern Front Commander Udi Adam said that following the heavy rocket attacks on Haifa the IDF is responding with attacks on areas from which terrorists are firing the rockets at Haifa, adding that there are still many areas in southern Lebanon containing Lebanese civilians, making it difficult to direct fire at the source.
The rescue of the injured was being delayed after many people abandoned their vehicles due to the rockets, leaving them on the road to the Rambam hospital.
The simultaneous attack took place shortly after 9 a.m. Phone networks in the area have been affected.
The most severe attack was on a garage for upgrading train cars at Haifa's train depot - one rocket directly hit one of the buildings, killing eight workers and injuring 23 others inside; six of the injured are in serious condition and three were lightly wounded in the strike. A firefighters spokesman said a blaze was ignited in the area, but it was put out.
Rocket strike on Haifa (Photo: Eladisimo)
Firefighter Hezi Levy was one of the first to arrive at the scene.
“When I entered the depot the roof was still on fire from the rocket that landed on it,” he said. “Then I saw the bodies of the six people who were killed lying next to each other. Another employee came running towards me, tried to speak, then collapsed and died. Two minutes we began to extinguish the fire.”
The workers who survived the attack found the death of their co-workers difficult to grasp.
“We came to work and a short while later heard the first boom,” one train depot employee told Ynet.
“Three or four of us rushed to help the others; there was screaming and hysteria; people lay on the ground bleeding, with injuries to their limbs, eyes, head and chest – and around them we saw our dead friends.
“The truth is that last night (Saturday) I had a very bad feeling that this time it (rocket fire) would reach us. Today my premonition came true.”
Train depot following attach (Photo: Yonatan Hauerstock)
A total of 46 people were injured as a result of the rocket fire on the Haifa and Akko areas: Four people sustained serious injuries, nine people were moderately wounded, seven people sustained light injuries and four people suffered from shock.
Elad Savavo of Haifa told Ynet during the attack: "The train depot on Hof Shemen was hit. The second strike was in the bay, opposite the oil refineries. There were no sirens before the first barrage. There was a barrage of five rockets and then there were sirens. Immediately afterwards more rockets fell. Large amounts of rescue forces are in the area.
The rocket barrage also struck Naharia, Kiryat Bialik (check post), Akko, and Rosh Hanikra.
Security officials said the train depot roof is made of tin and therefore the structure cannot be considered a protected area, adding that Israel Railways erred in allowing workers to come to work despite instructions to the contrary.
Israel Railways General Manager Ofer Linchevsky said in response “the facility immediately entered a state of emergency, in the framework of which rescue forces were immediately dispatched to the scene.
“We complied with Home Front Command and police orders,” he said.
At 11:10 a.m. another round of five rockets was fired at Haifa; the rockets landed in the sea near Bat Galim, Kiryat Haim and Kiryat Motzkin. Four people reportedly suffered from shock in the attack.
Sirens and loudspeaker systems were activated in various communities under the jurisdiction of the regional council of Asher and Ma'aleh Yosef. Loudspeakers in Nahariya call residents to enter fortified structures.
Over 700 rockets have been fired since the beginning of fighting on the northern border, and the IDF does not rule out that the rockets may reach further south than Haifa.
"Areas south of Haifa will receive an advanced warning in the form of a siren," Home Front Commander Yitzhak Gershon said.
Shortly before noon the Air Force attacked targets in Beirut and Tyre in response to the attack on Haifa; Hizbullah’s TV station al-Manar was apparently hit in the strike, and its broadcasts were disrupted.