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Rockets targeting Ben Gurion Airport intercepted; Israel strikes scores of Gaza sites

JTA

July 9, 2014 | 8:41 am

<em>Smoke and flames following an Israeli air strike in Rafah on July 9. Photo by Stringer/Reuters</em>

Smoke and flames following an Israeli air strike in Rafah on July 9. Photo by Stringer/Reuters

The Iron Dome missile-defense system intercepted at least two rockets near Tel Aviv reportedly aimed at Ben Gurion Airport.

The rockets were intercepted during rush hour Wednesday morning, Israeli media reported, citing Palestinian sources. Heavy traffic stopped on main freeways into Tel Aviv as warning sirens were heard throughout the city.

Forty rockets from Gaza were fired at Israel by early afternoon Wednesday, with Iron Dome intercepting eight. Sirens were heard throughout southern Israel and in the center of the country, including in Tel Aviv, Rishon Lezion, Modiin 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 the previous night. Among the sites hit, the IDF said, were 118 concealed rocket launching sites; weapon storage facilities; 10 tunnels; six Hamas facilities; and 10 terror command positions.

Terror groups in Gaza shot about 45 rockets at Israel on Tuesday evening, striking major Israeli cities in the south and the center of the country. One rocket landed in Hadera, in northern Israel, some 70 miles from Gaza. The IDF said the rocket that hit Hadera was similar to the ones it found on the Klos-c, a vessel that contained an Iranian shipment of advanced weaponry intended for terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip that was intercepted by the Israeli military on March 5.

At least four Palestinians were reported killed in Israeli airstrikes on Wednesday morning, including an 80-year-old woman. Some 28 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli airstrikes since the start of Protective Edge, 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 with a skeleton staff until further notice due to the “July 8 rocket attacks on Tel Aviv and potential for further attacks.” The staff of Israel’s diplomatic missions will not be allowed to travel south of Tel Aviv without prior approval, according to the statement

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