Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was rushed to safety Tuesday night as rocket alert sirens blared in the southern city of Ashdod as he was giving an election campaign speech.
Sirens also sounded in Ashkelon and other communities close to the Gaza border shortly after 9pm sending the residents running to their bomb shelters.
The prime minister was rushed off stage by his security detail as the sirens sounded a little after 9pm.
Netanyahu told the audience to remain calm as his guards led him away.
"We have a code red warning, leave quietly," Netanyahu told his supporters and asked the security guards, "Where should they go?"
Culture Minister Miri Regev was present at the event and moved to another area of the hall.
After the siren, Netanyahu returned to finish speech and tweeted: "Great support in Ashdod. You must vote to stop a leftwing-Arab government."
Israel goes to the polls for the second time this year next Tuesday, for elections triggered by Netanyahu after he failed to form a government following the April vote.
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, a former ally turned vehement political opponent of Netanyahu, was also in Ashdod at the time of the rocket fire.
In a post on his Facebook page, Liberman wrote after the rocket alert that, "today's event proves that Netanyahu's policy, which means surrendering to terrorism, is bankrupt. There must be a change of direction and the first phase will be at the ballot box on September 17."
The Israeli military said some of the rockets fired by the Gaza militants were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system.
Shortly after the attacks, Ashkelon Municipality said it has ordered all public bomb shelters in the city to be opened.
There were no reports of injuries or damage. One woman in her 40s was treated for shock.
In recent days there have been rocket sirens both from the Gaza Strip and also in the north. The defense establishment has been preparing for further rocket attacks.
In an unusual move, Likud deleted its video of the conference in Ashdod that showed Netanyahu being evacuated during the siren.
With just a week to go until Election Day, the prime minister's camp almost immediately saw the potential for damage caused by the footage of Netanyahu being rushed from the stage to the protected area, and treated it as an emergency event.
The video that was being broadcast live on Netanyahu's Facebook page was deleted a few minutes later and a host of videos were posted showing support for Netanyahu, who insisted on returning to the stage to continue his speech even though some thought it was dangerous both for him and for the rest of those present.
During the incident, attendees of the event remained in the auditorium and did not head for protected spaces. Most of the ministers who were present also there remained in auditorium.
Netanyahu's campaign team saw reactions to the incident from his political rivals. They refused to allow photographers access to the event and issued videos and pictures themselves.
His political opponents on the right and left attacked Netanyahu, claiming the rocket fire on Ashdod and Ashkelon was a humiliation.
Unnamed sources said the incident was a huge setback for the prime minister's campaign, as images of Netanyahu, who also serves as defense minister, being escorted from the scene by security guards could be extremely detrimental.