A man who was found under the rubble of an Ashkelon building hit by a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip was a Palestinian from the Hebron area, a family member of the victim confirmed.
The man was killed, and another woman was seriously injured, overnight Monday-Tuesday after a rocket directly impacted the apartment they were both in.
The man was identified as 48-year-old Mahmoud Abu Asabeh from Halhoul, a town near Hebron. The woman, also Palestinian, was in moderate condition as of Tuesday afternoon, according to a spokeswoman for the Barzilai Medical Center.
“I saw Mahmoud last Friday at a family member’s home in Halhoul,” 55-year-old Imad Abu Asabeh, Mahmoud’s uncle, told the Times of Israel. “Our family learned this morning he was killed. We are deeply saddened about his passing.”
Abu Asabeh was the first civilian to be killed in Israel since a sharp uptick in cross-border violence Sunday night.
After an Israeli operation that went awry in Gaza on Sunday, which left one Israeli soldier and seven Palestinian fighters dead, terrorist groups in the coastal enclave shot off hundreds of rockets and projectiles at Israel.
The IDF has responded by targeting Hamas and Islamic Jihad infrastructure throughout Gaza, the army said.
Imad, who works at a car rental business, said his nephew was a contractor in Israel, where he had worked for some 15 years.
“He would go to work in Israel on Sunday and return home to Halhoul on Friday,” he said. “That was his weekly routine.”
A security official confirmed that Mahmoud had a permit to work in Israel.
The official also said his permit included permission to stay overnight in Israel.
Imad said Mahmoud left behind a wife, two daughters and three sons including one studying in Russia at the Palestinian Authority’s expense.
Mahmoud’s last Facebook post was of a video of a rocket being intercepted in what he indicated was Ashdod.
“Ashdod now. May God be gentle,” he wrote.
Imad said he and his family oppose the rocket attacks on Israel and the Israeli strikes in Gaza.
“God wrote for Mahmoud what happened to him,” he said. “But we are against the rocket attacks and the strikes on Gaza. We want all of it to stop because we do not want to see more victims.”
Imad said Israeli authorities informed his family they would most likely receive his body either later Tuesday or Wednesday morning. A funeral is expected to take place after that.
Imad also said he “has no idea” about the identity of the injured woman found in the apartment with Mahmoud.
Jacob Magid contributed to this article.