In the largest escalation of fighting since the 2014 Gaza war, Palestinian terrorist groups have indiscriminately fired hundreds of rockets into Israel since Saturday, killing four Israelis, including an Israeli-American.
Moshe Feder, 68, died Sunday when an anti-tank missile struck his car, and a second victim killed in a rocket attack on the southern city of Ashkelon was identified as Ziad al-Hamamda, 47. A Bedouin Israeli resident of the Negev, he is survived by his wife and seven children.
Two other Israelis were killed in indiscriminate rocket fire, and over 150 Israelis were injured. Seventeen Israelis remain hospitalized, including three in serious condition.
Moshe Agadi, 58, was the first fatality after he sustained serious injuries when a rocket hit his home in the early hours of Sunday morning. Pinchas Menachem Prezuazman, 21 – a dual American and Israeli citizen – was killed on Sunday evening after being struck by rocket shrapnel while running for cover in the city of Ashdod.
Some 200,000 Israeli children throughout southern Israel spent Sunday and Monday hiding in bomb shelters instead of going to school. In Sderot an empty kindergarten was struck by a rocket.
A senior Israeli military official said that almost 700 rockets and mortars had been fired from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip since Saturday and that over 150 had been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
In retaliation, Israel hit 280 targets in the Gaza Strip belonging to PIJ and Hamas and threatened further “massive” strikes. In addition, Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis confirmed that Israel had killed in a targeted strike senior Hamas operative Hamed Ahmed Abed Khudari, who the IDF said was in charge of large-scale money transfers from Iran to terrorist groups in Gaza. The Israeli army said, “The funds were used to build the hundreds of rockets recently fired at Israel,” adding, “Iran will need to find a new money man in Gaza.”
The Hamas-controlled Health ministry charged that 22 Palestinians were killed in the offensive, including a pregnant woman. The IDF said the woman was killed after dozens of rockets aimed at Israel fell short and landed in Palestinian territory. At least 11 of the Palestinian casualties were terrorists, belonging to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other Gaza-based Islamist groups.
The latest escalation marks the eleventh round of violence emanating from the Gaza Strip over the past year to which Israel has responded – and continues to respond – with immense restraint. The Israeli army estimates that Hamas has a stockpile of over 20,000 mortars and rockets, meaning that the terrorist group could fire projectiles at Israel for weeks.
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