Rocket seriously injures Israeli teen in Ashkelon, dual citizens leave Gaza

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) – An Israeli teenager was seriously injured by a rocket fired from Gaza that landed in Ashkelon.

Another Israeli man also was wounded in the rocket strike on Sunday afternoon in a residential area of the city.

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“Hamas has chosen to attack our cities with massive and indiscriminate rocket fire. I said from the outset that we would respond in strength against this criminal firing at our citizens and this is what we are doing,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday at the beginning of the regular Cabinet meeting.

“One must understand how our enemy operates. Who hides in mosques? Hamas. Who puts arsenals under hospitals? Hamas. Who puts command centers in residences or near kindergartens? Hamas. Hamas is using the residents of Gaza as human shields and it is bringing disaster to the civilians of Gaza; therefore, for any attack on Gaza civilians, which we regret, Hamas and its partners bear sole responsibility,” he said.

Early Sunday morning, four Israeli Naval commandos were injured in a ground battle on a beach near Gaza City, where they destroyed long-range rockets and its launcher, according to the IDF. Three Hamas fighters reportedly were killed in the clash.

Also Sunday morning, nearly 700 Palestinians with dual citizenships, including dozens of  dual Palestinian-Americans, left Gaza for Israel, where they will travel to the other countries where they are citizens.

Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, more than 800 rockets have been fired from Gaza on southern, central and northern Israel, according to the IDF. Some 147 rockets have been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

IDF forces have struck 1,320 of what it calls “terror targets” across Gaza, including 735 concealed rocket launchers, 64 training bases and militant compounds, 58 weapons storage and manufacturing facilities, 32 Hamas leadership facilities, 29communications infrastructures and additional sites used for terrorist activities, according to the IDF.

Cities throughout northern Israel on Sunday checked and opened public bomb shelters, following two salvos of rockets fired from Lebanon since the start of Operation Defensive Edge.

Also Sunday, the Temple Mount was closed to visitors after Palestinians rioted, throwing rocks and explosives at Israeli policemen. Two officers were injured in the unrest.