3 soldiers injured by mortar shrapnel as terrorists fire rockets at Ofakim

These are the first reports of injuries caused as a result of the multiple rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza.

An Israeli soldier is in moderate condition after sustaining an injury to his leg due to mortar shrapnel. This is the first report of an injury since Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza began firing projectiles at Israel this morning.

Ynet claims that six Israelis have been injured in southern Israel so far. According to the report, three soldiers were injured by shrapnel; two Israelis were slightly injured while running to bomb shelters; and another man went into shock.

For the first time since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, rockets were fired on Tuesday afternoon toward the central Negev region and the city of Ofakim. The rocket that was fired toward the southern Israel city was intercepted by an Iron Dome battery.

Due to the barrages of mortars and rockets, the Eshkol Regional Council has instructed residents to remain in close proximity to bomb shelters until further notice and the Israeli army has ordered the immediate evacuation of Ashkelon’s Zikim Beach. In addition, power outages have been reported in several Eshkol Regional Council communities. This is apparently due to the firing from Gaza.

Over 30 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip since 7:00 AM. Iron Dome batteries intercepted at least 25 of them. Others fell in open fields near the Gaza border fence. According to the spokesperson for Sderot, the city has received reports of rocket parts that fell in the yards of residents after interception.

In response to the attacks, Israeli fighter jets have carried out several air raids in Gaza, attacking Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror targets. According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, among the targets that were attacked by the Israeli Air Force were six terror training camps where weapons were being stored, naval facilities and terror headquarters.

“As part of the attack, a terror attack tunnel belonging to the terrorist group Hamas in the Kerem Shalom border crossing area was neutralized,” the Israeli army explained. “This was a terror tunnel that began in the Gaza Strip, passed through Egypt and from there crossed into Israeli territory.” The IDF added that the tunnel had two purposes: to transfer weapons to and from Egypt and attack Israel. “This was the second neutralized tunnel in the Kerem Shalom border crossing area and the 10th since October,” the army added.

The military described that the mortar barrages as “serious” terror activity, adding that the projectiles were launched with the aim of harming civilians and children in Israel. “The Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization is a terrorist group guided by Iranian ideology and funding, and in the attacks today, [they] used weapons manufactured in Iran,” the IDF said.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman tweeted: “This afternoon, we attacked terror infrastructure, including an additional tunnel, throughout Gaza in a massive and powerful way. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad are already paying a heavy price and the bill was only served to them today. We do not intend to let these attacks go unnoticed or tolerate them.”

In light of the situation in southern Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will hold an emergency meeting with senior defense officials this evening, Israeli media is reporting.



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