Red Alert sirens began Saturday morning in Southern Israel and continued throughout the night as 492 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza. The sirens reached as far as Bet Shemesh, 12 miles west of Jerusalem, and Beersheba, 26 miles from the border with Gaza. The Iron Dome missile-protection system was claimed to have a 90 percent success rate, intercepting approximately 100 rockets. Despite the efforts of the IDF, many rockets penetrated the defenses, landing in Hof Ashkelon, Ofakim, Kiryat Gat, and Sderot. Two rockets landed in Beersheba with one exploding in the courtyard of a school and the other hitting a home.
200+ rockets rained down on the homes of Israeli families today. WATCH: pic.twitter.com/XZoqPabuQ6
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 4, 2019
The Jewish Press reported that a total of 21 rockets landed in populated areas. One Israeli was killed, one was seriously wounded, one was moderately wounded, 21 were lightly wounded, and 62 were treated for shellshock.
A rocket hit a building in Ashkelon at around 2:30 am on Saturday night, wounding a 58-year old man in the stomach and chest. He was taken to the Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon where he was declared dead one hour later. Magen David Adom (MADA) reported treating six people overnight for shrapnel wounds and 16 more for shell shock. The man was identified as Moshe Agadi, 58, a father of four.
Two people were reported wounded in the daytime attacks: a woman approximately 80-years old was seriously wounded by shrapnel in Kiryat Gat and a man was in moderate condition after being hit by shrapnel in Ashkelon six miles north of the border. A video shows the woman standing at a bus stop when the rocket explodes just a few meters away.
— החדשות 13 (@newsisrael13) May 4, 2019
In total MADA treated 83 people since the start of hostilities Saturday morning, including nine with shrapnel wounds.
An additional salvo of rockets was fired Saturday night around 11:30 targeting Beersheba in the central Negev, hitting a school and another building. No injuries were reported. Other communities closer to the coast were targeted as well.
The IDF responded by hitting over 180 military targets belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad inside Gaza with tank-fire and airstrikes. At least two rocket launchers were reportedly hit in the strikes. The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said a 22-year-old man was killed and four people were injured by the Israeli strikes. Reuters cited a Hamas source as claiming the man was a terrorist in their military. A terrorist tunnel penetrating into Israel was also destroyed on Saturday.
Turkey condemned the IDF response targeting a building housing the state-run Anadolu news agency. The IDF responded that the offices of senior Islamic Jihad members in the building were “used for terrorist purposes.”
“The structure that was attacked was used by Hamas’s West Bank task force, which is responsible for directing terrorist operatives in the Judea and Samaria region to create terrorist infrastructure and to pass messages for terrorist activities and for transferring money and logistical support in order to carry out terror attacks against Israeli civilians,” the IDF responded in a statement.
An anonymous source from Hamas told Haaretz that the attack was in retaliation for Israel’s delay in implementing a ceasefire. “[We] warned of escalation for the past two weeks due to the delay in carrying out the understandings of the ceasefire. In Israel they asked for calm and got it, and in the [Gaza] Strip we didn’t get any improvement.”
Israel announced that it is closing the two border crossings between Israel and Gaza, as well as closing the Gaza fishing zone in response to the attacks.
On Friday, an Islamic Jihad sniper fired from Gaza and wounded two IDF soldiers operating along the security fence. The IDF responded with an air strike that killed two Hamas terrorists. Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli sniper fire during riots that challenged the security fence.