Hamas’ brutal attack on Erez Crossing took place as a group of injured Palestinians were entering Israel from Gaza to receive medical care.
Over 30 Gaza mortars & rockets slam into Israel, with one rocket falling near Tel Aviv, after a violent day with Israel attacked in north by Syria & Lebanon.
By Yoav Zitun
Three Israeli Arabs were wounded by a mortar shell fired at the Erez Crossing as Palestinians from Gaza were entering Israel for medical care. The attack came after Israel was hit with over 20 rockets Sunday morning and after Saturday night saw at least five rockets fired from Syria and Lebanon at the northern Golan Heights and the Western Galilee, hitting an empty house.
In the early afternoon a mortar wounded three Israeli Arabs who work as taxi drivers tasked with taking a group of Gazans from the crossing into Israel for medical care. Roughly an hour later, the IAF hit the site from where the mortar was launched. In the meantime, Hamas has taken responsibility for the attack, saying it fired 15 mortars at the crossing.
The attack took place at the Erez Crossing in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council while a group of ill Palestinians was making the crossing. Soldiers evacuated the wounded as mortars continued to fall.
One of the Palestinians attempting to make the crossing spoke to Ynet and said “the war does what it wants with us. I hope both sides put an end to it. There is too much fear in Gaza and in Israel. All we wanted was to get medical care.”
The three suffered shrapnel and blast injuries. One of them was seriously hurt in his stomach and rushed into operation. His situation is now stable. Another was also hit in his stomach. He was hospitalized in intensive care and will be operated later Sunday. A third suffered fractures in his arm and will undergo operation later Sunday.
The wounded are aged 27, 41 and 56 and are from the Bedouin community of Rahat, while a third was from East Jerusalem. The crossing has since been shut in wake of the attack.
Abed Ra’asab, from East Jerusalm, arrived at the crossing to transfer a young relative of his suffering cancer to a hospital in Jeruslam and witnessed the scene. When he arrived at the Palestinian side of the crossing the attack began. “It was so close, but thank God I was close to a shelter, those wounded were farther away. The (IDF) paramedics quickly took care of the wounded.
The mortar hit one of the few active crossings connecting Israel to Gaza, specifically the one intended for human passage. A car belonging to one of the Israeli-Arabs sustained damage. A young Palestinian girl who was at the crossing suffered anxiety and she was seen shaking from fear.
Roughly an hour and a half after the mortar attack, during the early afternoon, a rocket was intercepted over Ashkelon, while another fell in Eshkol and one exploded inside a Sdot Negev Regional Council community. Shortly afterwards another rocket was intercepted over Hof Ashkelon. Two other rockets hit outside a Sdot Negev Regional Council.
Additional rockets were then intercepted over Ashdod and Be’er Tuvia while another caused damage to a structure in Eshkol.
At around noon a rocket exploded in open area in Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area, while at least eight hit open areas in Sha’ar HaNegev in less than half an hour. Two more rockets were intercepted over Be’er Tuvia, not far from Ashdod, while Eshkol was hit by three more.
The Eshkol Regional Council came under heavy fire in the early morning hours, with three rockets hitting a community, causing light damage to a house, a greenhouse and some cars. Later rockets were intercepted over Ashdod and Sderot, while more rockets fell in Eshkol.
Three other rockets exploded inside the council’s territory. A power line sustained damage. Two other rockets exploded in open areas and six fell near a community. Sdot Negev was also targeted in an earlier salvo, with four rockets exploding in open areas.
North under fire
On Saturday night, as many as five rockets fired from Syria exploded in the northern Golan Heights, with three falling next to a community. Earlier Saturday night, a rocket fired from Lebanon hit an empty house in the Western Galilee.
The IDF said they have refrained from responding, and Israel said it will work with UNIFIL – the UN peacekeeping force in the area – instead. However, the IDF said “next time we won’t be so restrained.”
Rabiya, whose house was hit, said “It is nothing short of a miracle that only damage was caused and that nobody was killed. There were people sitting right were the rocket fell and they were thrown aback, some were injured, but they were lucky.”
Lebanese army forces found Sunday the rocket launcher from which the rockets were fired. According to Now Lebanon, the Lebanese Armed Forces found two missile platforms used on Saturday night to launch rockets at Israel, citing an official report announced on Sunday.
The two missile platforms were found to the west of south Lebanese border village Ed Dhaira after a search operation, according to army command.
The report added that “investigations in to the circumstances surrounding the incident have been initiated in coordination with the United Nations Interim Forces In Lebanon.”
A Lebanese source said IAF helicopters were seen flying over the area of the border.
Some 100 rockets were fired at Israel on Saturday, with one of the rockets hitting a communal dining hall in Nahal Oz, the very same kibbutz in which 4-year-old Daniel Tregerman was killed from a mortar hit the day before. Damage was caused to the structure, but fortunately there were no injuries. Tregerman was laid to rest Sunday, he is the first child causality for Operation Protective Edge.
Earlier Saturday night, two people were lightly wounded from rocket shrapnel in Be’er Sheva on Saturday night after two rockets hit a parking lot and a park in the city, police said.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that the mortar that killed Tregerman was fired from a Palestinian Authority school that provides shelter for refugees in the Gaza Strip, and is close to an UNRWA facility.
Earlier Saturday, security officials stated that the mortar had been fired from within an UNRWA school in Gaza.
Ilana Curiel, Matan Tzuri, Ahiya Raved, Roi Kais and Hassan Shaalan contributed to this report.
View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4562669,00.html