Israel’s national emergency response service Magen David Adom told The Algemeiner on Tuesday that the number of injuries from Gaza-based rockets fired at Israel could increase significantly if more missiles reach central Israel.
“No doubt, if the missiles will be fired to the big cities… where we don’t have so much of what we call in the south, ‘vacant areas’ or ‘open areas,’ the center of Israel is condensed like any other modern city in the world… then we might experience high numbers of casualties,” Yonatan Yagodovsky, director of international affairs at MDA, told The Algemeiner.
Since late last week, Gaza-based terror group Hamas has fired over 300 rockets into Israel’s south, including the communities in Ashdod and Ashkelon. In response, the Israel Defense Force launched Operation Protective Edge on Monday night. On Tuesday, Code Red rocket sirens went off in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Herzliya and Rishon Letzion, among other major cities in Israel.
Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted a number of the rockets including one fired at Tel Aviv, the IDF said on Tuesday.
As the attacks continue, Yagodovsky said the MDA’s “main concern” is the possibility that the rockets will reach Israel’s largely populated cities in greater numbers. He also noted that residents in Israel’s south are more accustomed to dealing with rocket fire than those in central Israel.
“It will be a challenge because the people in the center of Israel are much less experienced that the people who live in the south, [who] have been involved with this issue for the last 12, 13 years,” he said.
MDA currently operates at least 1,000 ambulances and a team of 15,000 medics, 13,000 of which are volunteers, deployed all over the Jewish state ready to respond to rocket attacks, Yagodovsky said. He added that seven of MDA’s dispatching centers have been working since Monday in underground sheltered locations, including in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Blood inventory has also been moved to the sheltered areas in preparation for possible injuries from rocket attacks.
Regarding the tally of wounded Israelis thus far, Yagodovsky told The Algemeiner “we are fortunate that up to now, the impact was really minimal.”
“If you isolate the medical work at the moment, it is very minor regarding the missiles attacks. I must say, we are very fortunate,” he said. “We had a few people that ran to the shelter and fell and got some kind of minor injuries, a few people with stress disorders, two or three with minor shrapnel injuries, but that’s it for now.”
Yagodovsky said so far MDA has treated 16 injury victims, mainly Israeli civilians, and 32 trauma victims, since the escalation of Gaza fire. He explained “mainly because people are with a lot of experience from the past. They obey the guidelines of the home front command and what they learn from us over the years, from [the] MDA.”