Tuesday, May 11, 2021

'Massive' Rocket Barrage Into Ashkelon Leaves Six Wounded

6 Israelis wounded as Hamas launches massive rocket barrage on Ashkelon

Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip fired a massive barrage of rockets at the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon at dawn on Tuesday, wounding six people and threatening to turn the city “into hell.”

The assault came after a night of almost constant rocket fire on Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip and as the Israel Defense Forces conducted strikes on some 130 targets in the coastal enclave, the military said. It followed a day that saw a major outbreak of violence from Gaza, including rare rocket fire on Jerusalem.

On Tuesday morning, IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman said the fighting was expected to last at least several days and that the coming hours would be particularly punishing.

“We have an intense day ahead of us,” Zilberman told reporters, adding, “We have a goal and we will not stop until we’ve reached it.”

Asked about the potential for a ground invasion or targeted killing of top terrorist commanders, Zilberman said the military “was prepared for anything.”

According to the Israel Defense Forces, over 200 rockets and mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel from 6 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday, dozens of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. According to Zilberman, roughly a third of the projectiles landed inside the Gaza Strip.

Most of the others landed in open fields where they caused no injuries, but a small number landed inside Israeli communities, including at least three that directly struck a house in the Sha’ar Hanegev region on Monday night and two apartment buildings in Ashkelon on Tuesday morning.

According to Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry, at least 22 people were killed on Monday night and Tuesday morning, including nine minors. The IDF said at least 15 of those killed were members of the Hamas terror group who were launching rockets at Israel. Zilberman said a number of those killed in Gaza were struck by errant rockets fired from the Strip.

Video footage of the Tuesday morning attack showed dozens of rockets being fired at Ashkelon, with Iron Dome interceptor missiles screaming up into the grey morning sky to try and bring them down.

Six Israelis were wounded in that attack, including two men who sustained moderate injuries — a 40-year-old and a 63-year-old who were hit by shrapnel — and four who were lightly wounded, medics said.

In response to the ongoing rocket rockets, IDF fighter jets, aircraft and tanks struck some 130 targets in the Gaza Strip, most of them associated with Hamas, but also some against other terror groups in the enclave, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

According to the IDF, this included the home of a top Hamas commander, Hamas’s intelligence headquarters in southern Gaza, two attack tunnels that approached the border with Israel, as well as rocket production and storage sites. The IDF said it was also targeting terrorist operatives as they fired rockets at Israel.

Hamas in Gaza said it had launched the attack on Ashkelon, in which six Israelis were injured, in response to the IDF strike on the commander’s apartment building.

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