Fourth Israeli dies of wounds inflicted in Gaza rocket strike
Major barrage fired at southern Israel Sunday evening; army says more than 600 rockets fired since Saturday morning; military preparing for attacks reaching even deeper into Israel; IDF thwarts attempts to use drones to harm troops along Gaza-Israel border
Pinchas Menachem Prezuazman, 21, was killed when a rocket fired from Gaza struck a building in Ashdod Sunday evening. He leaves behind a wife and a 1.5-year-old infant. He was the fourth casualty in the latest round of fighting between Hamas and Israel. Prezuazman's funeral will take place in Jerusalem Sunday night. Another three individuals were slightly injured by shrapnel.
Prezuazman was walking in the street when he heard the air-raid siren and ran to seek cover in a nearby building but was hit by shrapnel when he entered the stairwell. He was struck during a heavy barrage, consisting of over 40 rockets and mortars, fired from Gaza into southern Israel Sunday evening. A car also suffered a direct hit by a rocket and was engulfed in flames. School was cancelled in the city for Monday.
Prezuazman was raised in Bet Shemesh and moved to Ashdod after his marriage. He was a member of the Gur Hassidic sect, possibly the largest Hassidic sect in Israel. His death is the third tragedy to strike the family after his mother lost two brothers, one in an accident and another in a terror attack in 2002.
Three other Israelis were also killed in rocket strikes Sunday including Moshe Feder, 68, from Kfar Saba who was killed when after being struck by an anti-tank rocket fired from Gaza in the direction of IDF soldiers. Moshe Agadi, 58, was killed in a rocket strike in Ashkelon and Ziad Alhamamda was killed when a rocket struck a factory in Ashkelon.
Ashkelon's Barzilai Medical Center reported that 12 people wounded since the fighting began, including three in critical condition, are being treated there. The hospital has so far treated more than 130 people, including 64 suffering from shock. Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva treated 70 people since the fighting began Saturday.
The Home Front Command announced that school Monday is being cancelled for all areas within 40 kilometers from Gaza. The Education Ministry said that 169 field trips planned for Sunday were cancelled due to the situation.
Earlier, Israeli warplanes destroyed the Public Security Ministry building in Gaza City on Sunday afternoon, as Israel endured wave after wave of rocket strikes from the Gaza Strip since Saturday morning. In Gaza, six Palestinians were reported killed in Israeli air strikes, including a woman in advanced stages of pregnancy.
The ministry building, in the Rimal neighborhood of the city, was destroyed after IAF jets carried out its "knocks on the roof" policy of first dropping dummy bombs, to warn anyone inside to evacuate. The Israeli Air Force also hit other Gaza targets, including the homes of Hamas commanders and military installations.
Three Palestinians, including two members of the Islamic Jihad miitary wing, were killed in Israeli strikes Sunday, bringing the number of Palestinians killed since Friday to at least 13.
More than 650 hundred rockets have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip since Saturday morning, a senior Israel Air Force officer said Sunday. This is far higher than the average of 150 rockets fired each day during the last Gaza war in 2014, known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge.
"Two hundred rockets were fired at residential areas, with an interception rate above 86 percent," the officer said of Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, adding that the army was trying to ascertain why ome rockets managed to get through and hit residential areas. "No defense is absolute," he said.
The officer was speaking after three people were killed Sunday in rocket fire from Gaza. Two people were killed in separate strikes in Ashkelon, and a third died after his vehicle was hit on a road near Sderot, close to the Gaza border.
The officer also confirmed that Israel carried out a targeted killing of a Hamas member in central Gaza - the first such operation since 2014 and warned that the group was seen as fair game by the IDF.
"It has been a while since we have carried out a targeted killing," said the officer. "The killing of the money changer occurred in a dense urban environment and a number of aircraft participated in the strike. Hamas operatives are vulnerable to being hit whenever we see fit."
According to the officer, the Israel Air Force had carried out more than 100 missions in Gaza by late Sunday afternoon.
He added that the IDF is carrying out the instructions of the government and that for every building that they hit or significant strike, Gaza militants react impulsively, and Israeli forces are prepared for any eventuality, including rockets fired deeper into Israel.
The officer also said that Hamas is trying to target IDF ground forces along the border using drones, but they have so far been thwarted.