JERUSALEM (JTA) — More than 30 rockets fired from Gaza rained down on southern Israel over the weekend, with two headed for Beersheba intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system.
Fifteen rockets were fired at the area on Sunday morning and early afternoon. Residents in some southern Israeli cities and towns have been instructed to remain in their bomb shelters.
Beersheba is deeper into southern Israel than any rockets have reached during the current round of attacks from Gaza. The city was last targeted in November-December 2012, during Operation Pillar of Defense, when rockets also reached as far north as the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem areas.
The terrorist organization Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, said Saturday night that the group has long-range rockets that can reach all of Israel. It denied being on the verge of reaching a cease-fire with Israel mediated by Egypt.
Twice between Saturday evening and early Sunday morning, the Israel Air Force attacked what it called “terror targets” in Gaza, including concealed rocket launchers, a weapons manufacturing site and a terror cell preparing to launch rocket attacks on Israel.
“The IDF is prepared to do whatever it takes to restore peace to southern Israel,” the Israeli military’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, said Saturday evening while on the border with Gaza. “If necessary, we will respond with force.”