The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza toward the Tel Aviv metropolitan area on Sunday. There were no immediate reports of injury, but a vehicle in the Holon area was damaged by shrapnel.
Another rocket was fired at Ashkelon a short while later and severely damaged a house.
At least one rocket hit Beersheba on Sunday, apparently in a residential area. It was further reported that a house in Sderot sustained a direct hit from a rocket. The house was empty at the time of the attack.
A siren was activated in Tel Aviv and the vicinity at 10:31 am, shortly before the rocket was intercepted. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it had fired an M75-type rocket, which the terror group says is manufactured in Gaza.
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The explosion was heard throughout the entire Tel Aviv area. "I was at home in the 'old north' (area of Tel Aviv) when the siren sounded," a resident told Ynet. "The siren was followed by an explosion that shook the windows."
The vehicle that was hit by the rocket shrapnel caught fire, but the driver was able to get out in time. Firefighters were alerted to the scene, as were sappers who gathered the shrapnel.
"I stopped at the traffic light, and then I heard a noise," the driver told investigators. "At first I thought someone hit the car from behind. I drove a little more, and then I saw smoke coming from the hood. I stopped the car and opened the door. That's when I saw the flames."
Boris, who works at a garage in Bat Yam, said shrapnel from the rocket landed nearby. "I was at work, and we suddenly heard a siren," he told Ynet. "We ran to the secure room, and came out when the siren ended. Then we heard a boom and part of the ceiling, which is made of Asbestos, collapsed.
Car in Holon on fire (Photo: Gush Dan rescue services)
At around 11 am it was reported that Israeli aircraft attacked the launcher that was used to fire the rocket at the Tel Aviv area.
Earlier Sunday, a four-storey building in Ashkelon sustained a direct hit from a rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza. Two people sustained light shrapnel wounds in the attack, and five others suffered from anxiety.
Another rocket landed near a different residential building and damaged parked cars. Two additional projectiles that were launched toward the city were intercepted by Iron Dome.
Rockets were also fired at the Sdot Negev, Hof Ashkelon and Eshkol regional councils.
The Iron Dome intercepted several other rockets fired toward Israeli communities, including Ashdod, Gan Yave and Hof Ashkelon.
Early Sunday, the military carried out dozens of attacks on rocket-launching sites, a major training base and the two media centers. Israeli gunboats also fired on militant sites on the Gaza shore line, the military said without elaborating.
Seven Palestinian civilians were killed in airstrikes Sunday, including five children ranging in age from one to 11, according to Ashraf al-Kidra, a Gaza health official.
Two of the children, a 3-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, were from the same family and were killed by an airstrike on the three-story home in the town of Beit Lahiya. Hamas security officials said three missiles struck the house, owned by a Gaza family with links to militants' rocket squads. It was not known if any terrorists were in or near the house at the time of the strike. Another strike targeted a Hamas militant in his car outside his home in the Shati refugee camp near Gaza City, but also killed an 11-year-old girl passing by at the time, al-Kidra said.
The deaths bring to 53 the number of Palestinians killed since the operation began on Wednesday. Twenty of the dead were civilians, and more than 400 civilians have been wounded, al-Kidra said. On the Israeli side, three civilians have been killed and more than 50 wounded by rocket fire.