As heavy rocket fire on southern communities persisted on Tuesday, the IDF continued to gear towards a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.
The army airdropped leaflets on the enclave’s northern neighborhoods in the afternoon, warning residents to evacuate the region, an IDF official told Ynet. The Al-Arabiya news network reported that residents of the Strip’s southern and eastern neighborhoods received similar instructions.
Meanwhile, one Israeli was seriously wounded when a rocket hit a house in Ashkelon, and seven were lightly injured by a rocket barrage that was fired on the southern city of Ashdod around 4 pm. Three of the victims in Ashdod were hurt when a projectile hit a store in a commercial center, while the others were injured when a rocket exploded in an open area in the city. Another salvo was fired on the Eshkol Regional Council, hitting open areas and failing to cause injuries or damage.
The owner of the store that was hit in Ashdod said that his customers and employees ran for cover when they heard the air raid siren.”My entire store was destroyed and my car was totaled,” he said.
IAF aircraft struck a Hamas operative trying to fire an antitank missile towards Israel from Gaza’s Dhaniya Airport. A direct hit was identified. According to the IDF, it was the third time in two hours that terrorists attempted fire antitank missiles on Israeli civilians and troops. The IAF has also bombed a Hamas operative while he was trying to launch a rocket.
Earlier Tuesday, a rocket was fired from Gaza toward Jerusalem for the second time since Operation Pillar of Defense began. The projectile hit an open area in Gush Etzion. Minutes before the siren sounded in the capital, six people were injured in two rocket attacks on the Eshkol Regional Council.
The siren went off in Jerusalem just as Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was on the phone with his Japanese counterpart, Koichiro Gemba. Lieberman was forced to cut the conversation short and seek shelter.
Returning the call after the rocked had hit, Lieberman asked Gemba to try and imagine a situation in which he was sitting in the foreign ministry in Tokyo and had to leave a meeting or disrupt a phone call due to a rocket attack. He said that the operation in Gaza was imperative.
Lieberman thanked the secretary-general for his efforts to bring about peace to the region. However, the foreign minister said that the public outcry against an Israeli ground offensive in the Strip are empowering Hamas and prolonging the hostilities.
Source: Ynet News