At around 8 pm Wednesday, some four hours after Israeli aircraft killed top Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari, terrorists in Gaza fired Grad rockets toward Beersheba and Ofakim. Two rockets landed in Beersheba and caused damage to a vehicle and stores, but no injuries were reported. At least 20 rockets were fired toward the city.
The Iron Dome air defense system successfully intercepted 17 rockets, two of which were fired toward Ashdod. Another rocket fired toward Ashdod landed in an open area near a home, which was slightly damaged.
A total of 55 rockets were fired toward Israel's southern district since the early evening hours. Forty-seven rockets landed in the Negev and eight others hit the Lachish region. Fifteen people suffered from anxiety in Ashdod and Beersheba.
Hamas' initial response included the launching of two rockets toward the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. Resdents were instructed to remain in secure spaces. At around 8:30 pm two more rocket landings were identified in the Eshkol Regional Council. At least 10 rockets were fired toward Eshkol.
At around 9:15 pm three additional rockets landed in open areas in the Eshkol Council. No injuries were reported.
Jabari's killing marked the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense against terrorists in Gaza following days of incessant rocket and mortar fire on Israel. During the first few hours of the operation, which is being orchestrated by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz from army headquarters in Tel Aviv, the Air Force launched more than 20 strikes in Gaza, during which at least six Palestinians were killed, including Jabari.
Jabari's car after hit (Photo: Herzl Yosef)
The strikes also destroyed dozens of long-range projectiles, including Fajr-5 missiles, which are stored in Hamas and Islamic Jihad warehouses.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the press conference at the Kirya compound in Tel Aviv that the IDF destroyed most of Hamas' Fajr missiles in the first hour of the operation.
The IDF Home Front Command has ordered all academic institutions located within 40 kilometers of Gaza to remain closed on Thursday.