A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on Friday afternoon smashed into a beis knesses in Ashdod, wounding three people and causing serious damage to the building.
A woman in her 40s was moderately injured and taken to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon for treatment. Two men in their 20s were evacuated to Kaplan Medical central in Rehovot for light injuries.
Several people were also treated for shock at the scene by paramedics from United Hatzalah and Magen David Adom.
The projectile landed at 3:27 p.m. on Friday, in the middle of a heavily populated chareidi neighborhood of hundreds of families. The Iron Dome battery was not activated, though it was not known why.
“We were in the middle of getting ready for Shabbos,” when the rocket landed, Shmuel A., a resident of Kiryat Harav Abramsky, Ashdod, told Hamodia.
“Suddenly, we heard the warning siren. We rushed to the inner part of the house (we have no protected room or bomb shelter), and prepared to hear the “boom,” after which it’s safe to go out.
“And indeed, we did hear a boom. But a boom like none we ever heard before. A tremendous explosion and shock wave that shook us all. B’chasdei Shamayim, no one was hurt.”
Shmuel and his wife and two children weren’t hurt, though much of their house was wrecked. Dishes already laid out on the table for Shabbos were smashed to pieces; window panes were blown out.
“There were great nissim,” he said. “The street here is usually full of children at this hour on Erev Shabbos in the afternoon. But, for some reason, it was empty. I would not like to think what would have happened if the rocket had struck at night, when the beis knesses is full of people. There’s no protected area, people go to the stairwell during air raids.”
The beis knesses and nearby homes (among the first chareidi dwellings in Ashdod) were badly damaged by the blast.
Harav Chaim Kalmanowitz, the Rav of beis knesses Aish Dos in Rova Vav, was preparing the shiurium he delivers on Shabbos when the rocket hit.
“I ran to the stairwell, and heard the terrible boom, but mostly the screams afterward. It sounded like the worst had happened,” he told Hamodia. “There is no doubt we have witnessed open miracles here.”
Another woman said that she has nine children, almost all were at home at the time. “We have no protected room and the bomb shelter is too far away, so we gathered in the middle of the house and pressed against a wall. Then we heard a boom the likes of which we had never heard. Doors came unhinged, windows were blown out, shutters went flying. It was terrifying.”
Cars parked in the area also were heavily damaged. Ilan, the owner of a car that was hit, said, simply: “The car is gone.”
He was learning in a beis knesses with about six others when the sirens sounded. They stood against a wall for protection and carried on learning.
“We believe in the Torah. After a minute, there was an explosion. It was in the merit of Torah that we were saved,” he said.