The mother of an IDF soldier killed in the 2014 Gaza war and whose remains are held by Hamas vowed rocket volleys such as that which occurred Friday wouldn’t deter efforts to secure his return.
“This shows us who Hamas is. They are searching for any way to make it hard for us. This won’t help them,” Oron Shaul’s mother Zehava told Channel 10.
The attack appeared to have been deliberately timed to coincide with a ceremony near the Gaza border on Friday, marking what would have been Shaul’s 24th birthday. It sent audience members scrambling for cover, though the ceremony later continued.
“We continued the ceremony despite everything and I thought it was a respectable ceremony,” she added. She explained that the event resumed so as not to allow the terror group “to prevent us from carrying on.”
Zehava Shaul noted that while she was at first “alarmed” by the incoming rocket warnings, residents of the Gaza area regularly have to deal with the rocket threat.
Shaul said the family, from Poria Illit in northern Israel, chose to mark Oron’s birthday at “a place where we would be very close to him.”
She also said the Shauls would continue to pressure the government until Oron’s body was returned.
“We won’t give up until he comes home. I didn’t send Oron to battle. Whoever sent him should return him,” she said.
In addition to Oron Shaul, Hamas is also holding the body of late IDF soldier Hadar Goldin, who was killed along with Shaul. The terror group is also believed to being holding a number of Israeli citizens who crossed into the Gaza Strip of their own their accord.
Three rockets were fired at the Sha’ar Hanegev and Sdot Hanegev regions of southern Israel on Friday afternoon. Two of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, while the third struck near a building in a community in the area, causing damage.
The barrage came just after a musical performance, setting off loudspeakers in the area, which blared, “Code Red. Code Red,” the term for an incoming rocket attack.
Far from bomb shelters, Jelin and the other members of the audience took cover on the grass, lying on the ground with their hands over their heads.
באמצע טקס לציון יום הולדת 24 לאורון שאול ז״ל ״צבע אדום״. לאחר מכן אמרתי על הבמה שהיינו חייבים להמשיך בטקס. בשביל אורון
Posted by חיים ילין – Haim Jelin on Friday, 29 December 2017
In the video, Zehava Shaul could be seen being escorted away while clearly distraught.
The loud blasts of the rockets being intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system could be heard in the video, though they could not be seen because of heavy cloud cover.
Shortly after the rocket barrage, the Israel Defense Forces retaliated by attacking two Hamas positions with tank shelling and strikes from aircraft.
Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.