Gaza on the Brink: One Killed, Two Critically Wounded by Rocket Fire as Cabinet Convenes

Israel’s securty cabinet convened Tuesday morning to discuss the latest violent escalation in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel, during which over 370 projectiles were fired at Israel, killing one and wounded some 70 civilians. Israel is currently not working with the United Nations nor Egypt to defuse tensions.

A 40-year-old man was killed after a house was hit by a rocket in the southern Israeli town Ashkelon late Monday night. Two women who were in the same building at the time of the incident are said to be in critical condition. The fatality is reportedly a man from the West Bank Palestinian city of Hebron, not an Israeli citizen as initially suggested by local media. His identity is yet to be fully confirmed.

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Anti-tank missile launched from Gaza hit a bus in southern Israel – דלג

Earlier Tuesday, the Israeli army reinforced Armored Corps and Infantry units near the Strip, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.

>> Netanyahu’s Gaza test: Will he avoid a war he already called unnecessary? | Analysis ■ Botched special op in Gaza brings Israel and Hamas to brink of war | Analysis ■ Gaza violence: Just another flare-up on the road to a long-term deal | Analysis ■ In photos: 24 hours of Israel-Gaza violence in 13 photos

Following a situation assessment, the Israeli army issued an easement in security restrictions for residents of southern Israel, including school activity within sheltered institutions. People are allowed to leave bomb shelters, but were instructed to remain in their vicinity.

Schools will be closed in most major southern Israeli cities, including Be’er Sheva, Sderot, Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi, Kiryat Gat and Ashdod. Students in regional councils Sha’ar Hanegev, Eshkol, Merhcavin and Sedot Hanegev will also not attend school.

A rocket fell in Eshkol in the yard of the home of Rachel Danzing, 64. "I was in the bomb shelter and lying in bed, I heard that terrible boom, I smelled it and heard everything exploding, glass flying," Danzing told Haaretz.


Fragments from a rocket fired at southern Israel from Gaza, November 13, 2018.Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Also on Tuesday, a neonatal intensive care unit in Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon was moved to an underground bomb shelter.

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The office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories posted a statement on its Arabic Facebook page, saying: "Hamas and the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip are the ones bringing ruin upon Gazans! The persistant launching of rockets at Israel have grave reprecussions in the Gaza Strip. Residents of Gaza, terrorism has reprecussions."

The victim killed in Ashkelon was found by other civilians buried in the rubble an hour after police and firefighters had already left, in what neighbors described as a "terrible failure" to locate him.

Rescue operations at the building had identified a 60 year old woman, unconscious with blast wounds and multiple injuries, around 40 minutes after the house was hit, but had altogether missed the other casualties.

The other victims were spotted by a man who had come to take pictures of the damage one hour after the hit.

Israel Police said comprehensive searches were conducted by emergency and rescue forces, "sometimes while risking their lives, in dozens of sites where rockets fell in the south, with their primary objective being to save human lives and prevent them being harmed."

The statement emphazised that during the searches, the structure was under the immediate threat of collapse, due to gas canisters catching fire.

Israel came under a heavy barrage of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on Monday, a day after a flare-up in which an Israeli officer and seven Palestinians were killed.

An anti-tank missile launched from Gaza hit a bus in southern Israel, severely wounding a 19-year-old soldier.

The soldier was evacuated to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva along with the 25-year-old driver, who suffered from shock.

The projectiles fired from the Strip hit Israel in a number of locations, including in Sderot, where several people suffered light injuries from shrapnel, and Netivot, where a house took a direct hit. Israeli emergency services said a total of nine people sustained light injuries from shrapnel.