VIDEO - After several days of calm, heavy barrage hits northern city of Haifa: Three people were killed, about 60 were injured, including three who sustained serious wounds, and dozens suffered from shock in a rocket barrage that hit the northern city of Haifa Sunday evening. One of the dead was identified as Hanna Hamam, a Haifa resident.
Nearly 20 residents were hurt in one of the landing sites and hospitals in the city declared a multi-casualty event.
Following the heavy barrage on Haifa and the earlier incident in Kibbutz Kfar Giladi, in which 12 reserve soldiers were killed by a Katyusha rocket, Defense Minister Amir Peretz held a security consultation with IDF Chief of Staff Dan Hlautz.
Hizbullah announced that it fired Raad-2 rockets at Haifa. A statement issued by the organization said that the barrage was fired in response to the "ongoing Zionist acts of aggression against Lebanese citizens, and especially in response to the bombing of the Dahiya in southern Beirut."
One of the rockets hit an apartment building. Following the hit, the building collapsed and several people were apparently trapped under the rubble. Large rescue forces were dispatched to the area and recovered the body of one woman. Another six people were rescued from the rubbles.
One person was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, where he died from his wounds. Another man also died at the hospital.
Several houses caught fire, some of them after being directly hit by rockets, but firefighters managed to gain control of the fire.
|Haifa under attack (Video: Ido Becker)|
Shaul from Haifa told Ynet: "At around 7:50 p.m. there was a siren. I work on the 17th floor, I entered the fortified room, and after a minute there were suddenly four great 'booms,' the entire building trembled. I also spoke to a friend working in the area, and there the building also shook. At least a minute passed between the siren and the landing, so we had enough time to reach the fortified room."
Ali Khalila, a Haifa resident, was with his brother Salah at the al-Hariri street when the rockets fell.
"Me and my brother Salah felt the fall," he told Ynet. "We did not hear a siren before, and my brother fell on the floor. I threw water at him, tried to wake him. I waited 10 minutes for someone to come, but no one came. I tool him to the hospital myself," he said.
Eyewitnesses at the hospital also said that a long time had passed before ambulanced arrived at the rocket landing site.
Rockets fired at Haifa from Tyre (Photo: AP)
Shortly after the rocket barrage, a commotion erupted at the Rambam medical center's emergency room, after dozens of angry residents, whose relatives were injured, demanded to enter the place. Police and Border Guard forces prevented them from entering the emergency room due to the large number of injured who arrived at the hospital.
The hospital said in response: "We serve a large population of people and this is not the first time such a situation is created. People want to enter the emergency room and they will not enter, and that's why we have the Border Guard and police here. There is nothing to do in such situations. People have to be calmed down. We cannot work in the emergency room like this, so they will have to stay outside."
Until Sunday, 10 people we killed in the three weeks of fighting in rocket attacks on Haifa and the surrounding areas. Eight of them were killed when a rocket directly hit a train depot near the port, another person was killed while driving his car and another man was killed while working in a carpentry shop in Kiryat Ata.
Rockets hit Haifa (Photo: Monette Galpaz)
Seven hours after the deadly barrage that killed 12 people,
a rocket hit a house in a community near Kiryat Shmona. No injuries were reported, but the rocket started a fire in the area.
A little before 7 p.m., sirens were heard in many communities in the north of Israel – from Nahariya to Hadera. Several landings were heard in the Migdal Haemek area, but no landings were located so far.
One rocket landed next to a building in a community near Haifa, but did not cause injuries. Several rockets landed in open area.
Air Force struck a rocket launcher near Tyre, which the army claimed was used to fire rockets at the Haifa area.
In addition, four rocket landings were located in the Ma'alot area, one landing was located in Carmiel, and another landing was located in the Rosh Pina area. About 17 rockets hit the Galilee area in the last barrage.
IDF sources reported that since Sunday morning, Hizbullah has fired more than 160 rockets at Israel. One of them landed in a Kibbutz Kfar Giladi, causing the death of 11 people and the injury of 11 others – four of them severely.
The rocket fire continued in the afternoon, as well. At approximately 4 p.m. a barrage of rockets landed in the area of Shlomi and kibbutzim near Nahariya. Police and Magen David Adom forces combed the area in order to search for casualties or damages.
An hour earlier, a volley of rockets hit the Kiryaot (Haifa's northern suburbs). Police reported that three rockets hit the area, one in a street. No casualties were reported. Pursuant to the situation, courthouses were closed in Akko and the Kiryaot. Legal services for residents of theses areas will be provided, until further notice, in the Haifa courthouse.
Concurrent to the attacks in the Krayot area, warning sirens were activated in Haifa, Nahariya, Afula, Zichron Yaacov, Givat Ada, Binyamina and the surrounding areas. No rocket hit were reported in any of these areas.
At 2:20 p.m. a building in Kiryat Shmona absorbed a direct rocket hit and went up in flames. Forces are searching the area to ensure that there are no casualties. The rocket was one of ten that landed in the area during the afternoon barrage, which caused significant damage to property.
Also on Sunday, two rockets landed near Nahariya, in open areas. An additional rocket hit near Ma'alot, also in an open area, not resulting in casualties or damages. Two more landed in the central Golan Heights, causing a fire, but no casualties.
Vered Luvitch, Ahiya Raved, Efrat Weiss, Sharon Roffe-Ofir, Hagai Einav and Aviram Zino contributed to the report