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Iron Dome Intercepts at Last 9 Rockets in Barrage at Southern, Central Israel

By YnetNews, DEBKAfile, Israel Hayom & IsraelNationalNews

Hamas has managed to fire rockets from the Gaza Strip further than it did so far on Sunday afternoon, when it fired a rocket that hit near Haifa - some 150km from the Gaza Strip. Earlier, a 16-year-old boy sustained serious injuries and a 50-year-old man was lightly injured by a rocket blast in Ashkelon.

At around 12:30 a.m. Monday (Israel time), Code Red sirens sounded in Nahariya, Shlomi and other communities in the Western Galilee, after three rockets were launched towards Israeli territory, apparently from Lebanon. No injuries or damage was reported.

Shortly after midnight, the Iron Dome intercepted at least two rockets over Ashkelon. At 11:23 p.m., a rocket exploded in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.

At 8:03 p.m., the rocket alert siren was sounded in a lot of places in southern and central Israel, among them: Ashkelon, Mesilat Zion, Nachshon Hartuv, Beit El, Nili, Psagot, Abu Ghosh, Neve Ilan, Kfar Tapuach, Ofra, Eli, Migdalim, Hashmonaim, Kfar Daniel, Modi'in, Modi'in Illit, Ariel, Barkan, Nitzan, Zikim, Yad Mordechai, Netiv HaAsara, Kiryat Malachi, Yavne, Ashdod.

The Iron Dome intercepted at least nine rockets in this barrage. Four rockets were intercepted over Kiryat Malachi, two were intercepted over Sderot, and three were intercepted over Ashdod. Four rockets fired at Ashdod fell in open areas. Two rockets exploded in open areas in the Eshkol Regional Council, another exploded in an orchid. Hamas claimed it fired 13 rockets at Ashdod, and five rockets at an IAF base in the south.

A rocket hit a high voltage power line in the Eshkol Regional Council, causing disruption in electricity supply to 70,000 Palestinians in Khan Yunis and Deir al-Balah. The Israel Electric Company decided for the time being not to fix the power line, after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Minister for Regional Development Silvan Shalom have instructed the company not to put the lives of IEC workers at risk. The power line will be fixed when the security situation allows it, the company said.

Several minutes before 8 p.m., several loud explosions were heard in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. Security forces were checking whether these were rockets that fell in open areas. Around 6:18 p.m., three rockets exploded in Eshkol, causing damage to a chicken coop. Another rocket exploded in Eshkol earlier, at around 6 p.m. The Iron Dome intercepted a rocket over Ashdod at around 6:15 p.m.

At around 5:50 p.m., a rocket exploded in an open area in Sha'ar HaNegev. At around 5:13 p.m., two rockets hit the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. Shortly after 4:30 p.m., rocket alert sirens were sounded all across the greater Tel Aviv area, in the Sharon plains and in the Western Galilee. Iron Dome intercepted two rockets that were fired at the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. One rocket fell area near Haifa. So far, no injuries or damages were reported. A false alarm was sounded in Nahariya.

Hamas, that claimed responsibility for the rocket fire, said it launched a Fajr-5 rocket at Rishon LeZion, three M-75 rockets at Tel Aviv and one R-160 rocket.

The rocket alert siren was sounded in the following places, among others: Nahariya, Tel Aviv, Azor, Holon, Bat Yam, Palmachim, Rishon LeZion, Avihayil, Beit Yitzhak, Bitan Aharon, Givat Shapira, Havatzelet HaSharon, Netanya, Hadera, Elyakhin, Emek Hefer, Bat Hefer, Yad Hana, Kfar Yona, Givat Haim, Zemer, Lehavot Haviva, Magal, Netzer, Gan Shmuel, Sha'ar Menashe, Even Yehuda, Udim, Beit Yehoshua, Bnei Zion, Batzra, Ga'ash, Hof Hasharon Regional Council, Qalansawe, Sha'ar Ephraim, Shefayim, Herzliya, Kfar Shmaryahu, Ramat Hasharon, Bnei Brak, Givat Shmuel, Givatayim, Ramat Gan, Ra'anana, Kfar Saba and Petah Tikva.

A 41-year-old woman was lightly wounded in Hadera when she fell while running to take shelter. A 24-year-old woman in Netanya was also hurt in the same manner. Five people in Netanya were also being treated for shock.

On Sunday morning, Code Red sirens wailed across southern Israel, as residents in Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Be'er Sheva rushed to shelters. Two rockets exploded in open areas near Be'er Sheva. The Iron Dome missile battery intercepted one rocket over Ashkelon.

Some one million Israelis woke up to the sound of alarms after 6 a.m., as Code Red sirens blared in cities across central and southern Israel: Rehovot, Rishon LeZion, Modi'in, Ashdod, Lod, Ashkelon, Ramle, Ben Gurion Airport, and other smaller communities. The shockwaves from the explosions were heard as far as the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. Four rockets were intercepted during the salvo – three over Lod and one in the skies of Ashdod. The IDF reported that the Israeli Air Force attacked the launchers used for the early morning rocket fire.

Hamas launched dozens of rockets at Israel over the Sabbath, striking the Judea region south of Jerusalem for the first time - but in areas under Palestinian Authority control. Arabs in Hebron gathered to celebrate the rocket attacks on their Jewish neighbors but instead faced a rocket strike on Hebron itself.

Palestinians in the West Bank came under rocket fire from Hamas in Gaza over the weekend. Rockets landed in or next to Hebron, Bethlehem and Ramallah. The Palestinian Bureau of Statistics puts those cities' populations at 202,000, 30,000 and 34,000 respectively.

"The notion that Palestinian militants in Gaza might fire on Palestinian authorities in Ramallah is certainly a new twist to the six-day rocket war being waged between Israel and militant Palestinian groups in Gaza led by Hamas."

While Israel requires all buildings constructed after the first Gulf War to be equipped with a bomb shelter, buildings in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas do not legally need such protection. Israel's Iron Dome system is keeping Israeli citizens safe. Its success rate in targeting rockets headed for densely-populated areas runs at some 90%.


Meanwhile, the IDF's Operation Protective Edge continues. Fearing for their lives, more than 17,000 people have taken shelter in installations of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. Israeli aircraft dropped leaflets on border areas in northern Gaza on Saturday, calling on the citizens to evacuate their homes before noon Sunday as it prepared to bomb the area. The IDF warned that those who do not obey their instructions will be risking their lives and the lives of their family.

Nahariya, a small resort town 15 minutes drive from the Lebanese border, Sunday, had the unwanted distinction of being the northernmost Israeli town to be hit by a Hamas rocket from the Gaza Strip. The rocket traveled 172 km to land harmlessly outside the town – more than twice the distance from Gaza to Tel Aviv, which took its second round of Hamas rockets in two days.

An analysis written this past Thursday by Lt. Col. Michael Segall, a senior analyst at the Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs, documents the rhetorical support Iran has given to Hamas's rocket war against Israel. Segall explains that with no Arab states stepping forward to offer support for Hamas, Iran has stepped into the vacuum.

Iran has long been trying to fill the Arab void that has emerged. As in the past, Iran is now springing to the aid of Hamas despite the tension between them that stems from the crisis in Syria. Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei keeps attacking the "Zionist regime" and supporting the Palestinians with calls to come to their assistance.1 President Hassan Rouhani, for his part, continues to maintain a low media profile with regard to the military operation.

Two police officers on guard at Temple Mount were injured when dozens of Palestinian youths, some masked, pelted their contingent with rocks and firecrackers Sunday. They were pushed back into the mosque and police closed the compound to Jewish visitors. Three Palestinian villagers were detained for hurling rocks at vehicles driving on Highway 443. No one was hurt.


Egyptian Broadcaster: We Should Help Fight Hamas

By IsraelNationalNews.com & Reuters

Egyptian medical officials reported that seven civilians were killed and 22 were wounded when a rocket exploded in North Sinai near the border with Israel. Egyptians are no fans of Hamas, and a top Egyptian TV personality on Sunday called for Cairo to join in the battle to rout the terror group.

There's no love lost between the new government of Egypt and Hamas, with the former rejecting the latter over Hamas' support of the Muslim Brotherhood, the arch-enemy of newly-elected Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the ex-army chief who toppled the Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi last year. So far, Egypt has largely stayed out of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, offering little more than platitudes on the importance of calm, and half-heartedly suggesting itself as a broker for a cease-fire.

But if the Egyptian government is willing to go through the motions, many Egyptians are not. Angry over the Islamic repression the Brotherhood tried to impose on the secular middle class, and furious over the deaths of Egyptian soldiers and police at the hands of Brotherhood terrorists who flocked to Sinai last year, Hamas has faced a major backlash in public opinion, to the extent that many Egyptians are "rooting" for Israel to finish off Hamas.

Among those siding with Israel is the hostess of one of Egypt's most popular television programs, "Egypt Today." On Sunday, Hiya Aldardiri said that "the Egyptian people understand very well who is set against them, and they understand that Egypt has no choice but to set its forces against the terrorists in Gaza.

"As Egyptians, we will never forget the day Hamas hurt the honor of Egypt when it sent its militias to take over the Mansoura building and killed Egyptians," Aldardiri said. "They also killed Egyptians in Tahrir Square" when the Egyptian Army attempted to stem the Muslim Brotherhood's excesses. We blame Hamas for everything that happened in the Muslim Brotherhood revolution, whose purpose was to cause the fall of Egypt," she added.

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Children of New Immigrants: We're Scared, But Hoping for the Best

By Israel Hayom

More than 4,350 new immigrants to Israel are living in absorption centers in range of Hamas fire, and are dealing for the first time in their lives with the threat of rockets. Some 1,250 of these new immigrants are children ages 6 to 18, and a further 530 are toddlers. Both children and parents are facing a very tense situation. The Yaelim absorption center in Be'er Sheva runs activities for the 70 children there in a secure area in an effort to help ease some of the pressure caused by the situation.

Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, the Jewish Agency has kept even closer tabs on new immigrants, providing them with security information as well as bringing in professionals to teach about stress and panic management in light of the rocket fire.

One young new immigrant who is staying at Yaelim with her family said, "Bad people are firing at civilians and children who haven't done anything wrong. It's very scary, but we came to Israel to live here, so we'll manage and hope for the best."

Jerusalem Light Rail Back in Service After Rioting

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The Jerusalem Light Rail has been restored along several stops damaged in rioting earlier this month, and will now be running from the Givat HaMivtar to Pisgat Ze'ev stops as usual. The light rail will skip Arab neighborhoods, however, after the damage Arab rioters inflicted on the light rail system during the course of the riots. Work on the vandalized stations will take several weeks, Citipass representatives noted. The damage is estimated to have cost tens of millions of shekels.

Rioting throughout Jerusalem erupted two weeks ago after rumors circulated that 16-year-old Mohammed Abu-Khder's murder was an act of Jewish "revenge" over the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Sha'ar (16) and Eyal Yifrah (19).

The rioting in Shuafat and other Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem resulted, among other things, in the utter destruction of at least two light rail stations in Shuafat and Beit Hanina, after enraged Arabs threw Molotov cocktails at and sprayed graffiti on the train stops.


Amazing Footage Shows How Elephants React to Air Raid Sirens

By IsraelNationalNews.com

With the increased range of rockets fired by Hamas and Islamic Jihad from the Gaza Strip, Israel's major population centers in the center of the country are firmly within their reach. Just this morning (Sunday), several rockets were intercepted over Tel Aviv by Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. And it's not just millions of people at risk.

A remarkable video from the Safari zoo in the city of Ramat Gan, which borders Tel Aviv, shows how animals, too are being forced to cope with the onslaught. See video at http://youtu.be/vEh2S3LqTs4

In the footage, a herd of elephants can be seen reacting to air raid sirens by quickly forming a tight unit around their young. The scene was captured by zookeeper Sagit Horovitz, who said she chose to stay behind - in a safe place -as people rushed to find shelter. She said that although the elephants obviously did not know what was going on, they sensed that something was amiss.

"First of all, they sensed something they are not familiar with - a noise which they do not usually hear... and then they hear the very loud 'boom'... Their instinct is to come together and protect the herd. What was beautiful to see was that this was done without any regard for 'social status' within the group," she pointed out.

"You can see that there is one elephant that is standing a bit further away from the others at the beginning, but she moves towards the rest and they all accept her, despite the fact that in general she is a bit of an outsider and doesn't involve herself with the others. It's as if in a time of crisis... it's like neighbors in the same building; everyone gets together in the bomb shelter even if they are not best friends. Something unites during difficult times," Horovitz said.

"The most heartwarming aspect of it was that they gathered together in a way that specifically protects the calves. Of course they don't actually understand what is going on - but they know something not quite right is happening and their instinct is to gather together and protect each other, and more than anything to protect their children."


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