JERUSALEM—A rocket fired from Gaza struck a residential home in southern Israel early Oct. 17 and the Israeli military began attacking Hamas terrorist sites in Gaza in response as days of rising tensions appeared to be erupting into a new round of violence.
The Magen David Adom medical service said a woman and her three children in the home in Beersheba were being treated for shock symptoms, after they fled to their shelter upon hearing sirens warning of the incoming projectile. It said two others were injured during the panic to seek cover.
— Emanuel Miller (@emanumiller) October 17, 2018
This morning in Beer Sheva, Southern Israel. A rocket fired during the night from Gaza landed on a house . Miraculously no loss of life. pic.twitter.com/kR8y3i5R2E
— Emmanuel Nahshon (@EmmanuelNahshon) October 17, 2018
Another rocket from Gaza struck a beach near one of Israel’s larger cities. No injuries were reported.
— Joe (@Jtruzmah) October 17, 2018
Following the attacks, schools in Beersheba were canceled and Israel’s military chief was cutting short his visit to the United States to come back and manage the crisis.
The rocket attack on Beersheba was the first in months and the first that hit an Israeli home since the 2014 summer war between Israel and Gaza’s Islamic fundamentalist Hamas rulers.
It comes a day after Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the time had come to deliver a “heavy blow” to Hamas after weeks of escalating violence along the border. Lieberman announced that all crossings into Gaza were being shut in response to the attack and that Israeli military jets were the offending Hamas targets as a first response. No casualties were reported in Gaza.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDFSpokesperson) October 17, 2018
Hamas has held weekly border protests for the past six months, aimed in part at easing a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade.
The protests have intensified as Egyptian-mediated cease-fire efforts faltered.
Last week, some 14,000 Palestinians thronged to the border fence area, burning tires and throwing rocks, firebombs and grenades at soldiers stationed atop earth mounds on the other side of the barrier. Despite clear warnings of the consequences, some 20 Palestinians breached the border during protests on Oct. 12. Seven Palestinians were killed, including four who the military said were shot while approaching a military position in Israeli territory.
In response, Israel halted Qatari-donated fuel shipments to Gaza’s power plant and its leaders threatened that if the violence didn’t stop there would be series consequences.
“If it has any sense, Hamas will cease its fire and violent outbursts — now,” he said.