Almost 200 rockets rained down on Israel throughout Friday, as Operation Protective Edge to eliminate the missile threat from Gaza continued into its fourth day, the military said in a statement. In response, Israeli strikes on Gaza have come at a pace of one strike every 4.5 minutes since the start of the operation, according to the army’s figures.
The Israeli Air Force has hit over 2,000 targets in three-and-a-half days, an IDF spokesman said. Palestinian reports count some 90 dead in the coastal territory from the airstrikes, a figure that includes both civilians and terrorists.
In Haifa, an elderly woman died of a heart attack while running for shelter after rocket sirens sounded.
One person was severely injured in Ashdod Friday morning after a rocket hit a gasoline container at a gas station near the car in which he was driving. Rescue personnel pulled the man, aged 61, from the burning vehicle moments before it exploded. Seven other people suffered light wounds as a result of the attack and were treated by medical teams at the scene.
Less than 30 minutes after the attack, the military said the IAF struck the rocket-launching cell in Gaza that fired the rockets. The rocket launcher itself was destroyed in the strike, Army Radio reported, but the terrorists who operated it managed to escape.
Also Friday, the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system intercepted three rockets fired at the Tel Aviv area, according to an IDF statement. Hamas later claimed it had aimed four M-75 rockets, which a range of 75 kilometers, at the Ben Gurion International Airport
Egypt’s military said it destroyed a tunnel from Gaza meant to be used for attacks against Israeli civilians and Egyptian military installations.
Military sources told Egyptian and Palestinian media outlets that border guards have engaged fighters, possibly from Hamas, at the tunnel’s entrance in the Salah A-Din area of Rafah, forcing them to flee.
Inside the tunnel, Egyptian forces found 20 warheads and 20 platforms for launching Grad rockets. The materiel was smuggled to Sinai and was intended to be launched at Egyptian military installations and Israeli towns.
Egyptian forces destroyed the tunnel, according to media reports.
Across Israel’s northern border, Lebanese army sappers located and dismantled at least two rockets that were prepared for launch. A Lebanese military spokesman said the weapons seemed to have malfunctioned and were found in a search following rocket fire at Israel earlier Friday, Walla reported.
A trail of blood and a ripped shoe were later found at the site, Lebanese media reported. The army said it had arrested one man in connection to the firing of the three rockets.
On Friday morning, three rockets that were fired from Lebanon landed near Kfar Yuval, between the northern Israeli towns of Metulla and Kiryat Shmona, close to the Israeli border and some 200 kilometers from Tel Aviv. Fragments from one of the rockets were later found in an open area near Kiryat Shmona.
The IDF responded with heavy artillery fire toward the area from which the rocket was launched, according to an army spokesman. At least 25 artillery shells reportedly slammed the outskirts of the Lebanese town of Kfar Shuba.
There were no reports of injuries or damage, on either the Israeli or the Lebanese sides of the border.
According to Lebanese media, the rockets were launched from the village of Hasbaya, in the south of the country, and the group behind the attack had yet to take responsibility. Defense officials in Israel asserted that the rockets were likely Katyushas fired by a Palestinian group that identifies with Hamas.
Following the rocket attack, IDF officials filed a complaint with UNIFIL, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti said the organization was looking into the incidents, according to Lebanese media.