One hundred and thirty rockets were fired at Tel Aviv and surrounding cities. Direct hits in Holon and Givatayim.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News Staff
Explosions shook central Israel Tuesday night as scores of Iron Dome rockets launched to intercept a barrage of 130 rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza at the most heavily populated part of the country.
Initial reports indicated one woman was killed and about a dozen injured, with those numbers expected to change as first responders reached areas where there were explosions.
The death was in the city of Rishon LeZion. The woman, 50, was reportedly hit by shrapnel, Channel 12 reported.
Seven were injured from a direct hit in Holon, just south of Tel Aviv. A passenger bus also burned in the street after it was hit by a rocket.
Ambulance crews evacuated three people to the hospital in moderate condition including a man, 50, a woman, 30, and a girl, 5, said Magen David Adom spokesman Nadav Metzer.
Four were lightly injured by a direct hit in Givatayim, a city bordering Tel Aviv to the east.
Flights heading to Israel were redirected to Cypress as Iron Dome interceptors were documented exploding over Ben Gurion International Airport, Channel 12 reported. The airport has been temporarily closed.
The attack came shortly after the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups in Gaza issued an ultimatum around 9:00 p.m. warning that they would attack Tel Aviv if Israel did not stop bombing buildings in the Gaza Strip.
Israel was retaliating for a massive rocket attack initiated by Hamas on Monday evening and which continued into Tuesday, claiming the lives of two Israeli civilians by afternoon.
“The building was shaking with every Iron Dome interception. They felt close,” said WIN’s managing editor David Isaac from his apartment building in Ramat Gan, a city to the east of Tel Aviv.
The first wave of rockets was launched at 10 minutes before nine, setting off air raid sirens from Ashdod in the south to as far north as Netanya and east to the city of Raanana, the entire area home to some 5 million Israelis.
In the northern neighborhoods of Tel Aviv the sirens began at 8:47 p.m., said WIN reporter Lauren Marcus.
“We expected it because of the 9:00 p.m. warning from Palestinian Islamic Jihad. There’s been a number of very loud booms from the iron dome interceptions – some of which shook the doors and windows pretty intensely. We have had three sirens as of 9:15,” said Marcus, showing there were at least three waves of rockets fired at the city.
“I would estimate we heard around 25 interceptions,” Marcus said, as the Iron Dome interceptor rockets blew up overhead to destroy the incoming rockets before they could reach their targets.
The attack was the heaviest rocket attack on Tel Aviv. Isaac’s neighbors said the previous major attack during the war with Hamas in 2014 “wasn’t anything like this.”
“Neighbors gathered in the stairwell for safety. One said he saw explosions over the neighboring town of Givatayim as he drove home,” Isaac added.
Although political analysts estimated that the current round of violence might end in the coming days, the massive escalation is a new development that will likely extend the hostilities as Israel weighs its response.
“Hamas is responsible for this dangerous escalation which is putting millions of children, women & men in Israel at risk,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry tweeted. “Israel has every right to protect its citizens from Hamas’ barbaric terrorism.”
Earlier in the day, Defense Minister Benny Gantz authorized a callup of 5,000 reserve soldiers and the IDF publicized it’s deployment of heavy artillery on the Gaza border in a blunt message to Hamas.