Rockets aimed at Ben Gurion airport intercepted; Israel strikes 160 Gaza sites

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted at least two rockets near Tel Aviv.

The rockets intercepted during rush hour on Wednesday morning were aimed at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, Israeli media reported, citing Palestinian sources.


The sirens heard throughout Tel Aviv stopped heavy traffic on main freeways into the city.

Forty rockets from Gaza were fired at Israel Wednesday as of 1:00 p.m., with Iron Dome intercepting eight. Sirens were heard throughout southern Israel and in the center of the country including Tel Aviv, Rishon Letzion, Modi’in and Raanana.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that the military struck about 160 of what it called “terror sites” throughout the Gaza Strip late Tuesday night as part of Operation Protective Edge, which began late Monday night.

Among the sites hit were 118 concealed rocket launching sites; weapon storage facilities; 10 tunnels; six Hamas official facilities, and 10 terror command positions, according to the IDF.

Terror groups in Gaza shot about 45 rockets at Israel on Tuesday evening, which struck major Israeli cities in the south and the center of the country. One rocket is confirmed to have landed in Hadera, in northern Israel, some 75 miles away from Gaza. The rocket that hit Hadera is similar to the ones found on the Klos-c, a vessel on which was an Iranian shipment of advanced weaponry intended for terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip was intercepted by the IDF on March 5, according to the IDF.

At least four Palestinians were reported killed in Israeli air strikes on Wednesday morning, including an 80-year-old woman. Some 28 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air strikes since the start of the operation, according to the Palestinian Maan news agency.

Israel has been calling the homes of Palestinian civilians in Gaza to warn them to evacuate before launching airstrikes in their neighborhoods, the New York Times reported.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv said in a statement that it will be operating on a skeleton staff until further notice due to the “July 8 rocket attacks on Tel Aviv and potential for further attacks.”  Staff of Israel’s diplomatic missions will not be allowed to travel south of Tel Aviv without prior approval, according to the statement.