For the first time in a while, 3 rockets slammed into southern Israel last night. And for the first time ever, air raid sirens were activated right into central Israel. I’ve included a map of the area here to give you an idea of how close to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem these missiles are hitting.
After 3 Grad rockets slam into Ashdod, Bnei Aish, IDF says air raids hit their precise targets; first rocket attack since Schalit deal and first time air raid siren activated in Rehovot.
The activity came in retaliation to three Grad rocket that were fired from the Gaza Strip at Ashdod and Bnei Aish areas shortly before midnight Wednesday.
The rockets landed in open territories. No injuries were reported but several people suffered from shock.
Sirens were heard in Yavne, Gadera, Rehovot, Nes Ziona and Ashdod.
This was first time that air raid sirens were activated in Rehovot and Nes Ziona due to a rocket attack.
A woman who was visiting Rehovot at the time of the attack told The Jerusalem Post, “I was preparing to go to sleep when I hear the rising and falling siren. I heard neighbors coming out of their homes in the building, and asked them what to do. I was told to go to leave the apartment and go down one floor, as I was on the top floor. People were calm.”
Not everyone was so cool-headed though and many citizens got quite a shock:
“At first we thought it was a false alarm,” said Avihai from Ashdod. “We were in the stairwell, waited about two minutes and then returned home after we heard nothing. That’s when we heard a boom.”
Another woman recalled, “I was watching television with my husband. It took me several seconds to realize it was a siren. I told my husband we must take the kids to the fortified room. We heard a very large explosion that shook the entire house and we realized that it fell in the area.”
A siren sounded for the first time in the Coastal Plain city of Rehovot. Daniela, 14, said it was the first time she had heard a siren that was not part of a drill. “I was in the shower. At first I thought it was the sound of the wind but then I realized and came out soaked. I ran to the fortified room. It was really scary. My parents didn’t panic but they didn’t realize what was happening. I hope this does doesn’t happen again.”
Another resident of Rehovot said, “I heard a strange sound after falling asleep. At first I didn’t know what it was. Who would have believed that the rockets would reach Rehovot. After several seconds we realized it was an alarm, woke up the kids and ran hysterically to the stairwell. It was very scary, the shelter was locked and no one was prepared.”
Eran from Rehovot also described the moments of anxiety: “All the neighbors came down to the street and yelled ‘where do we go, where do we go’. They wondered why the Home Front Command didn’t tell us what to do. Everybody freaked out. In the middle of life – an alarm.”
These missile attacks make the headlines, but there is plenty of terrorist activity going on under the radar:
The Grad attack came following a series of terror attacks over the past several days. Earlier on Wednesday evening, a military vehicle was that was on patrol south of Bethlehem hit a roadside bomb near Khirbet Eliya.
The bomb exploded, causing damage to the vehicle. There were no physical injuries.
On Tuesday, a vehicle that was driving northward on Route 60 near Maavar Mikhmas was blocked by an Arab-owned commercial vehicle. At the same time, a young Arab armed with a club emerged from the nearby village, jumped over the security barrier and headed toward the vehicle. The driver managed to bypass the vehicle that was blocking the road, crossed the intersection and drove off.
On Monday, Arabs threw a rock from a passing vehicle at an Egged bus travelling from Beit El to Jerusalem. No one was hurt but the bus was damaged.
My question to the powers that be: if the IDF knows where these smuggling tunnels are – and they obviously do, because within minutes of rocket fire, the tunnels are attacked – why do they wait until missiles are fired? Why are these tunnels not being bombed day and night until none are left? Why are we “playing fair” and only bombing one or two tunnels at a time? This is no time for cricket rules. The terrorists don’t wait until we do something to anger them (besides simply existing of course). They are hard at work 24/7. We need to be too.