Gaza-based terrorists escalated their rocket attacks on Israel late on Monday launching a salvo of rockets into Israeli cities and towns.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, more than 30 rockets were fired and struck major cities Ashdod and Ashkelon, four were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system and 16 landed in open areas near Beersheba. According to Israeli media reports, more that 7o projectiles were fired at Israel.
Israeli daily Ma’ariv noted that red alert alarms sounded in many of the country’s major cities, including Jerusalem, Tekoa and Efrat. Israel’s Channel 2 News subsequently reported the alarms to be false.
The United Hatzalah volunteer ambulance rescue service reported that eight people were injured in Ashdod, one from rocket shrapnel and seven while running for shelters. Seven residents of southern Israel are being treated for shock following the rocket barrage, The Times of Israel said.
Israel Defense Forces spokesman Peter Lerner said on Monday that terror outfit Hamas, which rules Gaza, is “playing an extremely dangerous game of roulette” with their continued attacks on Israel. He confirmed that earlier in the day the IDF targeted a terror tunnel, preventing the group’s operatives from infiltrating Israel.
Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni urged the Israeli government to take action and stop the rocket threat from the Gaza Strip once and for all.
“We are very resilient. And we have patience. Our residents have been told what to do. The time has come to deal determinedly with terror [from Gaza],” he said. “If we have to sit for a month in bomb shelters, that’s what we’ll do. But let’s see uncompromising activity [against Gaza terror].”
Hamas announced earlier on Monday terms for the cessation of rocket fire into Israel, including the lifting of the security blockade of Gaza and the release of all the prisoners freed in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who were recently re-arrested following the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens.
Analysts said it was highly unlikely that Israel would accept the terms, raising the specter of an escalation of the conflict.