Israelis faced a second day of rocket barrages from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist group in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, after a brief overnight lull gave way to renewed launches in the morning hours.
Some 200 rockets were launched into Israel from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday following the targeted killing by Israel of senior PIJ commander Baha Abu al-Ata in the Hamas-controlled enclave. Abu al-Ata’s wife was also reportedly killed in the attack.
According to Israeli defense sources, Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system has intercepted 90 percent of the rockets headed for populated areas or strategic sites. Numerous videos of the Iron Dome intercepting Gaza rockets circulated on social media on Wednesday.
However, direct hits were reported Tuesday in Netivot, Sderot, Rishon Letzion and Ashdod, with sirens being triggered in Tel Aviv, Modi’in, Holon and Bat Yam on Tuesday, and in Beit Shemesh near Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Schools in the Gaza region, as well as in Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheba, Rehovot and Yavne, remained closed for the second day, forcing hundreds of thousands of students to stay home. Tel Aviv schools were reopened Wednesday.
Incoming Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, who took up his post as rockets fell across the country on Tuesday, declared a “special situation” in communities within 50 miles of Gaza, granting local authorities greater powers.
Two Israelis have reportedly been injured by rockets since that attacks began on Tuesday, both being lightly injured by shrapnel. An additional 23 people were treated for wounds suffered while running for shelter, and 23 more were treated for anxiety and shock-related symptoms, according to Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency medical services.
An eight-year-old girl from Holon was hospitalized in critical condition on Tuesday, after apparently suffering a heart attack when a warning siren sounded. She was reportedly in serious condition on Wednesday.
Gaza officials have reported 23 deaths since the fighting began, at least 11 of whom belonged to Palestinian Islamic Jihad or Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades.