A British-Israeli man from central Israel who hustled some of his family members to a bomb shelter moments before a rocket hit their home, said it was a “miracle” that all had survived the attack that leveled their property.
“We are in shock, but the most important thing is that we are all okay,” Daniel Wolf told Channel 13 from the hospital. “It was traumatic. After the explosion, there was silence, dust, and screaming. Destruction everywhere.”
The rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip shortly after 5 a.m. It hit the residential building in Mishmeret, north of Tel Aviv, injuring seven people, including an infant and a toddler, and leveling the structure, officials said.
Wolf said his mother was hurt while running to the bomb shelter, but was not in the room when the projectile came crashing through the roof. He said his father and sister, who were standing in the front yard when the rocket hit, also narrowly escaped serious injury.
“There were a lot of miracles that happened,” Wolf told the TV news channel.
Wolf said he heard heard the incoming rocket alert siren very faintly just after 5 a.m. and immediately went to look for his wife and daughters.
“When I heard the siren, I ran and grabbed my oldest daughter and then I got my wife and my younger daughter and dashed them to the shelter,” he recalled.
“My mother was in between the shelter and the kitchen when we heard an enormous explosion that was followed by silence… it was terrible.”
The Wolf family home was left in ruins, with tiles, broken furniture and debris scattered about. A shattered baby’s crib lay among the rubble and two family dogs died in the explosion.
Many Israeli homes have a built-in reinforced room that is designed to provide protection against rocket and bomb attacks.
Wolf said his mother and daughters were expected to make a full recovery.
Earlier, some residents of the area told Hebrew-language media outlets they didn’t hear the sirens that sent residents of the Sharon region scrambling to bomb shelters just after 5 a.m. on Monday. There were heavy thunderstorms throughout the region at the time.
The IDF said it was investigating why the sirens were not heard by everyone in the area.
British Ambassador David Quarrey on Monday condemned the attack “unequivocally.”
“Our thoughts are with the British-Israeli family whose house in Mishmeret was hit,” he wrote on Twitter. “There can be no justification of any kind for this attack, whose consequences could have been devastating.”
The IDF said Gaza’s Hamas rulers fired the rocket from one of their launching pads in southern Gaza Strip, near Rafah. IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis did not respond to reports that the projectile had been launched by Hamas accidentally.
The military said the projectile was a self-manufactured rocket with a range of 120 kilometers (75 miles), and that two armor and infantry brigades were being mobilized to the Gaza front along with a limited number of reserves.
Hamas did not immediately comment on the rocket attack publicly, but an official told The Times of Israel that the terrorist organization was investigating who fired the projectile, indicating that it had not been done with approval of senior leadership.
A Hamas official told AFP on condition of anonymity Monday the group was not behind the rocket, raising the possibility it was caused by “bad weather.”
The official said the same message had been passed to Egypt, which has acted as mediator between Israel and Hamas.
Netanyahu, in Washington to meet US President Donald Trump, held emergency consultations with military officials back in Israel and decided to cut his visit short, canceling a planned address to the AIPAC conference and meetings with congressional leaders.
“There has been a criminal attack on the State of Israel and we will respond forcefully,” he said. “In a few hours I will meet with President Trump. I will return to Israel immediately afterward.”
The early morning attack on Mishmeret, located over 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the southern tip of the Gaza Strip where the rocket was fired, represented a significant increase in the level of violence from the coastal enclave, following weeks of heightened tensions and border clashes, as well as skirmishes in Israeli jails between Palestinian security prisoners and prison guards.
This attack on Mishmeret was the farthest-reaching rocket attack from the enclave since the 2014 Gaza war.
There are fears that violence will ramp up this week, with Hamas hoping to draw hundreds of thousands of rioters to the fence at the weekend to mark a year of so-called March of Return protests, which began March 30, 2018.
Agencies contributed to this report.