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South Under Attack

Location of rocket hit in Ashdod Photo: Avi Rokach
Location of rocket hit in Ashdod Photo: Avi Rokach
 
Yeshiva after rocket hit Photo: Yanki Slud
Yeshiva after rocket hit Photo: Yanki Slud
 
Damage caused to synagogue Photo: Zeev Trachtman
Damage caused to synagogue Photo: Zeev Trachtman
 
 

Rocket hits Ashdod yeshiva; 10 hurt

Two people seriously injured after rocket explodes near Ashdod yeshiva. Escalation in south continues as at least 12 rockets fired at area overnight

Shmulik Hadad
Latest Update: 08.19.11, 10:14 / Israel News

A rocket fired at Ashdod on Friday exploded in the courtyard of a haredi yeshiva and left 10 people injured. Magen David Adom emergency services said two men were seriously injured.

 

Eight others were lightly injured in the attack. The victims were rushed to the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot. Minor damage was caused to the building.

 

Escalation in south: 

 

The rocket fire, which took place at around 8:10 am, was preceded by a Color Red alert in Ashdod and Gedera.

 

Emergency services detected an additional Grad rocket which hit a synagogue located several blocks from the yeshiva. The rocket failed to explode, but caused extensive damaged to the building, which had to be demolished.

 

Eye witnesses said that the victims left the synagogue after hearing the siren, running for cover in an adjacent building. When they heard the first blast they came outside and were then hit by shrapnel caused by the second rocket.

 

Damage caused to Ashdod yeshiva (Photo: Avi Rokach)
Damage caused to Ashdod yeshiva (Photo: Avi Rokach)
 

"The fence was utterly destroyed and a deep hole had gaped in the ground," Moshe Avramovitch, one of the yeshiva students said. "Windows and lamps were shattered in the caravan where the worshippers were praying. The yeshiva students were saying their morning prayers. They ran for their lives and the rocket got them on their way back when they sought to resume their prayer. "

 

One of the victims described the scene from his hospital bed: "We heard a siren and ran to an adjacent building. We waited there for several minutes and then stepped out to resume our prayer. Suddenly we heard a loud blast. We couldn't see anything, people were dropping to the floor. Luckily residents soon came to help us and rescue forces followed minutes later. It was a great miracle."

 

Shattered glass at morning prayer (Photo: EPA)
Shattered glass at morning prayer (Photo: EPA)
 

A total of 12 rockets were fired at southern communities overnight, less than a day after eight Israelis were killed in multiple terror attacks near Eilat.

 

Meanwhile, the Home Front Command issued guidelines for residents of southern communities, including Ashkelon, Netivot, Ofakim, Beersheba and Ashdod, which ban the gathering of more than 500 people.

 

Earlier, at around 5:50 am, a siren sounded in Beersheba and shortly thereafter a blast was heard as a rocket hit an open field near the city. 

 

A rocket also exploded south of Gedera. Rockets were also fired at the Eshkol and Shaar Hanegev regional councils. Sirens were sounded in Ashkelon and Ashdod. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

 

Security forces outside yeshiva (Photo: Avi Rokach)
Security forces outside yeshiva (Photo: Avi Rokach)
 

Beersheba Mayor Rubik Danilovitch called on residents to adhere to defense establishment instructions. An Iron Dome battery was deployed in the city.

 

Also Friday morning, a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip at Gan Yavne and landed in an open field. Thirty minutes later an additional rocket landed in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council. There were no reports of injuries or damage in both cases.

 

Earlier, a Color Red alarm was sounded three times across southern communities. In two cases, rockets hit open areas in the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council, and in one case in an open field in the Sdot Negev Regional Council.  

 

A total of four rockets were fired at Ashkelon on Thursday, two of which – aimed at residential areas – were intercepted by the Iron Dome system. The other two rockets exploded in open areas. Security forces scanned the area; no injuries or damage were reported.

 

Meanwhile, Israel's Air Force launched extensive strikes in Gaza Strip. The IDF Spokesperson's Unit confirmed that IAF jets attacked seven targets in Gaza in response to Thursday's terror attacks and the rocket fire on southern communities.

 

According to the statement, two terror hubs and an weapons mill were attacked in the northern Strip, while two smuggling tunnels, a terrorist tunnel and a terror hub were attacked in southern Gaza.

 

Security forces up alert level in Eilat area (Photo: Reuters)
Security forces up alert level in Eilat area (Photo: Reuters)
 

The Palestinians reported that fire had broken out in one on the areas targeted, leaving one teen dead and dozens injured.

 

On Thursday, the IDF bombed a Rafah building where senior members of the Popular Resistance Committees, who were the masterminds behind the Eilat terror attacks, were staying.

 

Palestinian sources reported that six people were killed in the strike, including Kamal Nirab, commander of the PRC's military wing and Khaled Shaath, a senior member of the terror group.

 

It appears Shaath's son or daughter were among the fatalities. Imad Hamad and Khaled al-Masri, who were both involved in a number of terror attacks against Israel including the abduction of Gulad Shalit were also killed in the attack.

 

Ilana Curiel, Tova Dadon and Omri Efraim contributed to this report

 

 

First Published: 08.19.11, 07:29

 

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