Red alert sirens sent thousands of Israelis scrambling for shelter on Saturday morning as the IDF reported that over 200 rockets were fired at Southern Israel from Gaza over Shabbat. The Iron Dome missile defense system reportedly intercepted dozens of projectiles but many more hit inside of Israel. For the first time, at around 3:00 pm, sirens sounded in Bet Shemesh, approximately 12 miles west of Jerusalem.

Two people were reported wounded in the attacks: a woman approximately 80-years old was seriously wounded by shrapnel in Kiryat Gat and a man was in moderate condition after being hit by shrapnel in Ashkelon six miles north of the border. A video shows the woman standing at a bus stop when the rocket explodes just a few meters away.

An additional salvo of rockets was fired Saturday night around 11:30 targeting Beersheba in the central Negev, hitting a school and another building. No injuries were reported. Other communities closer to the coast were targeted as well.

The IDF responded by hitting over 120 military targets belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad inside Gaza with tank-fire and airstrikes. At least two rocket launchers were reportedly hit in the strikes.  The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said a 22-year-old man was killed and four people were injured by the Israeli strikes. Reuters cited a Hamas source as claiming the man was a terrorist in their military. A terrorist tunnel penetrating into Israel was also destroyed on Saturday.

Turkey condemned the IDF  response targeting a building housing the state-run Anadolu news agency. The IDF responded that the offices of senior Islamic Jihad members in the building were “used for  terrorist purposes.”

“The structure that was attacked was used by Hamas’s West Bank task force, which is responsible for directing terrorist operatives in the Judea and Samaria region to create terrorist infrastructure and to pass messages for terrorist activities and for transferring money and logistical support in order to carry out terror attacks against Israeli civilians,” the IDF responded in a statement.

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An anonymous source from Hamas told Haaretz that the attack was in retaliation for Israel’s delay in implementing a ceasefire. “[We] warned of escalation for the past two weeks due to the delay in carrying out the understandings of the ceasefire. In Israel they asked for calm and got it, and in the [Gaza] Strip we didn’t get any improvement.”

Israel announced that it is closing the two border crossings between Israel and Gaza, as well as closing the Gaza fishing zone in response to the attacks.

On Friday, an Islamic Jihad sniper fired from Gaza and wounded two IDF soldiers operating along the security fence. The IDF responded with an air strike that killed two Hamas terrorists. Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli sniper fire during riots that challenged the security fence.

Source: Israel in the News