One person seriously wounded from rocket hitting Ashdod gas station, first to be wounded from direct hit in Operation Protective Edge; Iron Dome intercepts rockets over Tel Aviv, Ashkelon.
Shortly after rocket alert sirens were sounded on Friday morning across central Israel, including at the Ben-Gurion International Airport, Hamas’ armed wing has warned airlines that it intends to target the airport with its rockets from Gaza and has told them not to fly there.
“In the light of Israel’s … attacks on the residents of Gaza Strip … The armed wing of Hamas movement has decided to respond to the Israeli aggression and we warn you against carrying out flights to Ben Gurion airport, which will be one of our targets today because it also hosts a military air base,” a statement from the group said.
The militant group said it had issued the warning to the airlines so that they could avoid injury to their passengers.
Mid-air Iron Dome interception of a rocket fired at Tel Aviv (Photo: Iris Shuv)
Earlier, Hamas said that the rocket barrage at central Israel was their first deliberate attempt to hit Ben-Gurion Airport. The organization said that four M-75 rockets were fired at the airport.
But projectiles launched by Gaza militants are largely inaccurate and there have been no reports of any landing in or close to the airport, located in an area covered by the Iron Dome system.
A spokesman for Israel’s airport authority said that a siren had sounded at Ben-Gurion and that all activity had stopped for about 10 minutes, but that the siren was part of a general alert in the Tel Aviv area and not a direct threat to the airport.
Rockets intercepted over Tel Aviv
Three rockets fired from the Gaza Strip towards central Israel were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system over the Tel Aviv area on Friday morning.
Children taking cover in Rishon LeZion.
Prior to the rocket fire, the rocket alert siren was sounded at around 10:45am in Tel Aviv, Givatayaim, Ra’anana, Herzliya, Bat Yam, Rehovot and other cities in the area.
Shrapnel of rocket intercepted by Iron Dome over Tel Aviv (Photo: Moran Biran)
Tel Aviv resident holding shrapnel from rocket intercepted by Iron Dome over Tel Aviv (Photo: Merav Schocken, Ido Shlomo
A synagogue in Tel Aviv, that was closed for renovations, was hit by shrapnel of one of the rockets intercepted by the Iron Dome. No one was inside the synagogue when the shrapnel fell.
The synagogue’s manager, Michael Biton, said that renovations had just finished. “There was a cleaner here this morning right when it happened. She started cleaning, heard the siren and left (to take cover). Right when she left, the rocket (shrapnel) fell and fortunately she was saved.”
The shrapnel that hit the Tel Aviv synagogue.
At noon time, a house in the Eshkol Regional Council suffered a direct hit from a mortar. The house’s residents were inside the safe room and were unharmed.
The house in Eshkol that suffered a direct hit (Photo courtesy of the Eshkol Regional Council spokesman)
Rockets that were later fired towards Ashkelon and its surrounding areas were intercepted by the Iron Dome.
A short while before the rockets fired at Tel Aviv, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit one of the houses in the Sdot Negev Regional Council. Damage was caused to the house and to vehicles nearby, but no one was hurt. Another rocket was found on the grass in the community.
The severely wounded person, a man in his 50s, was unable to flee his car when the rocket hit the gas station. Cars around him caught fire, and rescue units had to pull him out of his car, before it too caught fire. He was suffering burns and wounds to his hand and was taken to the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot.
Fire breaks out at Ashdod gas station after rocket hit (Photo: Avi Rokach)
Firefighters on the scene after rocket hits Ashdod gas fire, causing a fire (Photo: Avi Rokach)
Prior to the rocket hit in Ashdod, rocket alert sirens were sounded in Nes Tziona, Rehovot, Gan Yavne, Netivot, Kiryat Malachi, and the Sha’ar HaNegev and Hof Ashkelon regional councils.
Overnight, Code Red rocket alert sirens were sounded in southern cities and communities, including the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, Sderot, Sha’ar HaNegev, Ofakim, Merhavim Regional Council, Netivot, Eshkol Regional Council, Ashdod and Ashkelon.
Rocket alert sirens were also sounded in central Israel – in Nes Tziona, Rehovot, Gan Yavne and Rishon LeZion.
Rockets fell in open areas in Netivot and Eshkol. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted rockets fired at Ashkelon