Four Israeli soldiers killed in mortar attack on southern Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — At least four Israelis were killed and several others were injured in a mortar attack in southern Israel.

The attack Monday afternoon occurred in Israel’s Eshkol region, located along the border with Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces later announced that the four fatalities were soldiers, corrected earlier reports (including JTA’s) that those killed were civilians.

At least nine injured people were airlifted to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. Two reportedly are in serious condition.

The Code Red siren did not sound; mortars do not usually set it off.

The head of the Eshkol Regional Council, Haim Yellin, called on Israeli civilians to stop visiting soldiers in the area. The first Israeli killed in the current conflict died after being struck by a mortar while visiting soldiers near the Gaza-Israel border.

Roads into the area were closed to traffic.

The unofficial cease-fire between Israel and Gaza came to an end Monday evening as at least 12 volleys of rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza. Code Red sirens sounded thoughout the Carmel region in nothern Israel, including Zichron Yaakov, Hadera and Caesarea, as well as in southern Israeli communities.

Also Monday evening, the IDF sent text messages and made phone calls to residents of  the Shejaiya, Zeitoun, and eastern Jabaliya neighborhoods in southern Gaza City calling on them to evacuate immediately and head toward central Gaza City.

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