Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have fired over 2,500 rockets at Israel since the outbreak of fighting last Monday, according to the Israel Defense Forces. Ten people in Israel, including a young child, have been killed in the rocket fire, and hundreds have been injured.
The Iron Dome air defense system has stopped hundreds of rockets that were heading for populated areas, with most of the rest of the incoming projectiles landing in open spaces.
However, some rockets have made it through the country’s defense system, hitting built-up areas where they have destroyed buildings and taken lives.
The victims of rocket fire whose names have been published are Ido Avigal, 5, of Sderot; Leah Yom-Tov, 63, of Rishon Lezion; Soumya Santosh, 32, a caregiver from India; Khalil Awwad, 52, and his 16-year-old daughter, Nadeen, from Dahmash, near Lod; and Nela Gurvitch, 52, from Ashkelon.
In addition, IDF soldier Omer Tabib, 21, from Elyakim, was killed in an attack on the Israel-Gaza border.
A disabled man with no fortified room
The most recent casualty was on Saturday afternoon when a man was killed by a projectile that struck the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan.
He was identified in Hebrew-language reports as Gershon Franko, 55.
Franko’s sister told the Ynet website that he suffered from 100% disability and had other health issues, including pain in his legs that apparently prevented him from being able to get to a bomb shelter when the siren sounded.
Franko reportedly did not have a protected area in his home and shrapnel from the rocket pierced the door, killing him.
Died days after being injured as she sought shelter
On Friday a woman in her 50s from Neta’im in central Israel died from injuries she sustained on Tuesday as she fell while running to reach a bomb shelter during a rocket barrage.
Fatally injured as she ran for cover
During a rocket barrage last Thursday, an 87-year-old woman died after falling and hitting her head while running to a shelter in Shtulim, near Ashdod, Magen David Adom paramedics reported.
First military casualty from fighting
Israel Defense Forces soldier Omer Tabib, 21, from Elyakim, was killed by an anti-tank missile fired at the jeep he was in on the border with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.
Two other IDF soldiers were injured, along with Gil Timor, the deputy mayor of the Hof Ashkelon region, who was injured as he helped pull the other men from the vehicle.
Killed in a fortified room
The youngest victim on the Israeli side is Ido Avigal, a 5 -year-old boy killed on Wednesday night in the southern town of Sderot.
He was critically injured when rocket shrapnel punctured the window of the fortified room he was in, also injuring his mother and 7-year-old sister. He succumbed to his injuries several hours later.
A devoted grandmother
Leah Yom-Tov was killed when a rocket hit her home in the central city of Rishon Lezion on Tuesday night, during the largest-ever barrage of rocket fire on central Israel. She is survived by her two children, Moshe and Kfir Peleh, and five grandchildren.
הלב נשבר: לאה יום טוב נהרגה אתמול בנפילה בראשל״צ. בת 63 במותה. בניה מספרים שבדיוק כמו בתמונה הזו היא הייתה אישה מיוחדת ומלאת שמחת חיים. יהי זכרה ברוך pic.twitter.com/f2IWKY5ORo
— Hadar Gil-Ad | הדר גיל-עד (@HadarGil) May 12, 2021
The brothers told Hebrew media on Wednesday how they had both rushed to their mother’s home after they were unable to contact her by phone.
Moshe Peleh told Channel 12 news that shortly before “the most terrible thing of all happened,” his mother had spent “quality time” taking care of his 6-year-old daughter, age 6.
“She brought her home and shortly after that, this happened. The rocket hit really close to her,” he said. Both brothers rushed to her home after the rocket attack when she failed to answer the phone.
“Mom was a woman full of love, giving and helping,” said Peleh, something that she expressed through her work in natural medicine. “It was felt by anyone who came in contact with her, neighbors, grandchildren, or a person in the street.”
“She worked out of great love, not for the money. It was part of her essence, to give and help other people.”
“On Saturday I spoke with her and she said to me ‘I am fulfilling myself.’ She was in a good place,” he said.
‘She wanted to conquer the world’
Khalil and Nadeen Awwad were killed when a rocket landed Tuesday near their car in Lod, a Jewish-Arab city. Awwad’s wife, who was also in the car, was seriously injured, medics said.
“I know it sounds like a cliché and they always say that the best people are the ones who lose their lives, but Nadeen really was a very, very special girl,” her principal, Shirin Natur Hafi, told the Kan public broadcaster.
“She was in 10th grade, studying in the biology-chemistry track. She had dreams of changing the world. She was such a special girl, such a talented girl. She wanted to conquer the world,” Hafi said.
Lod Mayor Yair Revivo said the slain were members of the Arab community.
“Hamas missiles do not differentiate between Jews and Arabs,” Revivo said.
An Indian caregiver
Soumya Santosh, a 32-year-old Indian national working as a caregiver, was killed when a rocket crashed into the Ashkelon home where she was sitting with her elderly charge. The other woman, 80, was seriously injured in the strike.
Channel 12 reported that the rocket shelter was at least a minute’s run away from the elderly woman’s home and the pair did not manage to reach it in time. The home did not have a fortified room of its own.
According to the Haaretz daily, Santosh is survived by her husband and 9-year-old daughter.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family & loved ones of Ms. Soumya Santosh, an #Indian Citizen killed in the #HamasTerrorist Rocket Strike. The state of @Israel is coordinating with @indemtel for the transfer of her body to India. May her memory be a blessing.???? pic.twitter.com/mYRjNxgUCz
— Israel in India (@IsraelinIndia) May 12, 2021
Santosh’s remains arrived in India on Saturday.
No information was immediately released on the second victim of the Ashkelon rocket fire, Nela Gurvitch, 52, whose husband was also injured.
Israel has responded to the Palestinian rocket fire with intensive airstrikes on targets of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups.
In Gaza, the toll from the fighting climbed to 139 on Saturday, including dozens of children, with over 1,000 wounded, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. The Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups have confirmed 20 deaths in their ranks, though Israel says that number is much higher and that dozens of those killed were terrorists. In addition, the IDF says some deaths were caused by errant rockets fired at Israel which fell short of their targets and landed in the Strip.