An Israeli man who was seriously wounded in a rocket attack on Tuesday was delivering food to the needy in the southern city of Ashdod when he was hit by shrapnel, hit family said Wednesday.
Asher Biton, 62, a father of 15, was making his rounds when Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets into Israel at the same time as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was signing peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain at the White House in Washington.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, soldiers operating the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted one of the incoming projectiles.
The second rocket struck a street in Ashkelon.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service said Biton sustained shrapnel wounds to his upper body from the rocket. A second man, 28, suffered light injuries to his extremities from broken glass. Four other people suffered anxiety attacks as a result of the rocket fire, medics said.
Biton was originally described as in moderate condition, but doctors at the Assuta Hospital later said his situation deteriorated.
Doctors decided not to operate on Biton, fearing that he would not survive the operation, and have decided to wait until his condition improves. However, the hospital said his life was not in danger.
His wife, Rivka Biton, said the family watched news reports of the attack and saw his car, where he had been making a delivery.
“I called him and there was no answer,” she told Channel 12 TV on Wednesday. “Then someone accidentally answered and I heard shouting and police and ambulances. I grabbed a taxi and flew to the scene.”
She said he saved his life by lying on the floor and putting his arms over his head when the rocket sirens went off.
“He has a lot of internal injuries,” she said. “I still feel like we are in a nightmare that I have not woken up from.
The rocket attacks on Ashkelon and Ashdod came as a signing ceremony was taking place in Washington to mark the establishment of formal ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and between Israel and Bahrain.
“On this historic night of peace, we received a reminder from our enemies that we must always be strong and prepared to defend Israeli citizens on all fronts and at all times — and this we will do,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in response to the attack.
Terror groups in the Strip have in the past attempted to interrupt major Israeli festivities with attacks. Indeed, television footage of the signing ceremony on Tuesday night was accompanied by information from the IDF Home Front Command about the areas where rocket sirens were triggered.