Three people, including an elderly woman, were wounded Saturday as Israel was pounded by a massive rocket barrage from the Gaza Strip. The Israel Defense Forces said Saturday evening that some 200 rockets had been fired at the country during the day, and that it had responded with aerial bombardments across Gaza.
The escalation began on Friday, when two Israeli soldiers were wounded by Gaza gunfire near the border. A retaliatory Israeli air strike killed two militants from the Islamist Hamas group that governs Gaza. Two other Palestinians protesting near the frontier were also killed by IDF forces.
In Kiryat Gat, an 80-year-old woman was seriously wounded Saturday by shrapnel from a rocket. In Ashkelon, a 49-year-old man was moderately hurt from shrapnel wounds to the hands and legs.
Also in Ashkelon, a 35-year-old man was moderately hurt when a rocket hit a home in the southern city. The Magen David Adom rescue service said that the man was wounded in the upper body and taken to Barzilai Hospital.
It was the not the first time Saturday that an Israeli home was hit by rocket fire. Other residences were damaged by rocket fire on Kibbutz Nahal Oz and in Hof Ashkelon regional council. The home’s dwellers in the latter ran for their shelter and none were hurt.
Several buildings were damaged in the city of Sderot and in several other Gaza border communities. One rocket landed near a kindergarten in Shaar HaNegev, close to the border with Gaza.
Rockets were continually launched from the Gaza Strip throughout Saturday, with long-range missiles targeting communities in the central region. Sirens blared through communities in the south and center, as far as Rehovot, some 30km from Tel Aviv and Beit Shemesh, approximately 20km from Jerusalem.
The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted dozens of rockets on Saturday, the army said.
The military closed civilian access to several roads and hills near the Gaza Strip border on Saturday.
Multiple Israeli local authorities opened public bomb shelters amid the ongoing rocket fire, including Mateh Yehuda, Yavne, Be’er Sheva and Ashdod.
Restrictions on the size of public gatherings has also been imposed in some areas, and the airspace up to 10 kilometers from the Gaza border was closed until Sunday. Activity at Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport continued as scheduled.
In response, the military said it struck some 120 targets in Gaza, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad military compounds, a Hamas rocket-manufacturing site and a “high-end Islamic Jihad tunnel” that it said stretched into Israel for use in attacks.
Late on Saturday, Israel struck a building that it said housed Hamas military intelligence offices in Gaza City. Another airstrike hit a six-story commercial and residential building. Journalists said the building housed the office of Turkey’s news agency Anadolu. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.
Video: The IDF destroy Hamas building in the Gaza Strip following the escalation in the south
United Hatzalah volunteers from Israel’s south treated numerous people who were injured over the course of Shabbos as a result of rocket attacks and the ensuing color red sirens in Israel’s south and southern coastal plain regions.
Some of those injured were in serious condition while others were moderately or lightly injured.
Yanki Weinberg Head if the Kiryat Gat chapter of United Hatzalah treated one person seriously injured and another four people lightly injured in Kiryat Gat. After Shabbat was over he reported: “On Shabbat afternoon the color red sirens sounded just before a rocket landed in the city. I together with other volunteers from United Hatzalah treated one person who was seriously injured from shrapnel and was also hit by the shockwave of the rocket’s impact. The rocket landed in the courtyard of a school and the woman was nearby when it happened. We also treated four other people who were lightly injured, some of who sustained the injuries while they were running for shelter. We also treated numerous people who were suffering from shock.
Yaakov Yisrael Bar-Yochai a United Hatzalah EMT from Sderot reported after Shabbat finished that he had treated five people for various injuries over the course of Shabbat. “Over the course of Shabbat I, together with other volunteers from United Hatzalah were dispatched to numerous incidents wherein I treated five people who were lightly injured due to a rocket that fell in a residential area of the city. On several occasions, we treated people who fell while running to get to protected areas.”
Volunteers in other cities also provided treatment to those injured due to the rising hostilities in the area.
Since Shabbat ended, United Hatzalah Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit volunteers as well as emergency medical volunteers have treated 40 people who have suffered light injuries or were victims of shock and Emotional or Psychological Stress in numerous cities in Israel’s south.
Due to the continued rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and the resulting color red sirens that have been bombarding Israelis all over Israel’s south, dozens of Israelis have suffered emotional stress reactions including shock.
The unit has been active in Kiryat Gat, Ofakim, Ashdod, and other cities, towns, and moshavim since Shabbat ended.
Due to the sheer volume of attacks and the resulting volume of people who need assistance, the Unit has sent down additional unit members from other parts of the country in order to bolster the teams in the area. Additional Psychotrauma responders have been put on alert and will be dispatched should the need for their presence in the south continues to increase.
Additionally, the organization has set up a hotline for first responders who have suffered emotional stress due to responding to so many emergencies in such a short period of time.
In response to 250+ rockets fired from #Gaza at Israel, we struck a Hamas HQ. In this building, Hamas used to order terror attacks and used to transfer money, supplies & logistics for the sake of killing Israelis.
Emphasis on the "used to". We destroyed it. pic.twitter.com/Bh2zhCGzCF
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 4, 2019
What would you do if a rocket exploded in YOUR child's elementary school?
Thankfully no child was in this school when a rocket exploded in the courtyard.
This is just one of 250+ rockets that were fired from Gaza at Israeli civilians today. pic.twitter.com/UPzZoPBwWt
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 4, 2019