Rockets Fired at Southern, Central Israel After Quiet Night

YERUSHALAYIM -
A view of an Iron Dome missile intercepting rockets fired from Gaza into Israel, near Ashdod, Tuesday night. (Hassan Jedi/Flash90)

After a few hours of quiet overnight Tuesday, as dawn broke air raid sirens sent Israelis rushing to shelters in towns near the Gaza border and deeper in the country.

The Iron Dome system intercepted several rockets fired at Israeli communities.

Sirens sounded in southern Israel and then later in central Israel near Latrun and Beit Shemesh. Residents reported loud explosions, apparently of the Iron Dome taking down the rockets.

The IDF said Wednesday that approximately 220 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel since its targeted killing of senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata early Tuesday, adding that the Iron Dome’s success rate during this time period stands at nearly 90%.

The IDF said Wednesday that its forces targeted a Gaza crew preparing to launch rockets over the border. At least one man was killed. The Islamic Jihad terror faction identified him as a member of the group.

It appeared that Hamas, the main terror group that rules Gaza, is staying out of the fighting for now.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Army Radio in an interview that recent events in Gaza have led to a change in Israeli policy. In the past Israel has held Hamas responsible for all violence that comes from Gaza, but with the killing of Baha Abu al-Ata, Erdan said that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad has been trying to sabotage ceasefire arrangements Israel is making with Hamas and that therefore the IDF is focusing its efforts on targeting PIJ infrastructure.

A diplomatic source said that the U.N. Middle East envoy was on his way to Cairo to begin mediation to end the violence.

Meanwhile, the IDF Home Front Command announced that schools may reopen in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and in the nearby Yarkon and Shfeila regions on Wednesday.

Schools and non-essential businesses will remain closed in the Gaza region and southern Israel, the IDF said.