Three people were killed as a result of the Grad rocket attack on Kiryat Malachi Thursday morning, all of them Lubavitchers living in the Chabad neighborhood. The three were killed during or within minutes of the attack, after efforts to save them failed. Their names have not yet been released.
Six others were injured, including two infants, one of them eight months old. An additional victim, a four year old boy, was taken to Tel Hashomer hospital in central Israel for treatment. along with his father. The boy was in serious condition, and the father in moderate condition. Altogether, seven people were injured in the Kiryat Malachi attack. Six others were treated for shock in the attack.
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The victims were killed and injured when a Grad rocket hit an apartment building in Kiryat Malachi. The dead were among a large group that had taken refuge in an old building that suffered a direct hit from a Grad rocket. Rescue teams were trying to remove victims of the attack from the rubble, and were preparing for the possibility of more casualties, Magen David Adom officials said.
At around noon, several rockets were fired at Sderot, with one scoring a direct hit on a home. Miraculously, no one was injured in that attack, but that house sustained heavy danger. At least one rocket fell near a large gas installation. Rockets hit homes in Kiryat Gat and Ashdod. One person was lightly injured in the Ashdod attack. Also in Ashdod, a rocket destroyed two containers at Ashdod Port.
Another Grad rocket was fired at Kiryat Malachi at about 10:30 AM Israel time. Reports said that an Iron Dome missile blasted the rocket in the air above the city, before it could land and explode. Police urged residents to remain indoors and under cover, even in the event that an Iron Dome missile prevents an attack, because shrapnel from the destroyed missile falling to the ground could still injure people. At least one person in Ashdod was injured when they were struck by shrapnel from a rocket that was destroyed by an Iron Dome missile.
A heavy barrage of Grad and Katyusha rockets was fired at the main population centers in southern Israel Thursday morning. Red Alert warnings were heard in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi, Beersheva, and Ofakim. Speaking live from Beersheva at around 8:00 AM Israel time, Israel Radio’s correspondent counted at least a dozen missiles hitting in the area of the city. The IDF said that several of the rockets fired at Ashdod and Ashkelon were intercepted by the Iron Dome rocket interception system.
IDF officials expected the barrage to continue throughout Thursday morning, as Gazans prepare to bury Ahmed Jaabari, commander of Hamas’s “military” terror wing, who was eliminated Wednesday night, takes place. The IDF was on alert throughout the country, saying that terror activity was likely to increase, with possible rioting by Arabs in PA controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, and a strong likelihood that terrorists would attempt to kidnap IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians. Speaking to Israel Radio, Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovich said that the rocket fire would most likely get worse as the day went on, as the funeral for Jaabari progressed.
There was a very strong likelihood that Hamas would try to fire a missile at Tel Aviv or another city in the center of the country, security officials said, in order to score a decisive blow against Israel in revenge for the elimination of Jaabari.
The IDF eliminated three Hamas terrorists early Thursday, Israel Radio said, as Gaza Arab terrorists continued to hammer Israeli towns and villages with rockets. Several rockets were fired at the Be’ersheva and Ofakim areas on Thursday morning. The three were members of Hamas’ military wing, the IDF said. Since midnight Wednesday, about 30 rockets were fired at Israeli targets, for a total of over 110 since the beginning of the Pillar of Defense operation Wednesday night.