Rockets fired from Gaza at Ashdod for first time in 2 months; no injuries or damage

IDF reports 8 projectiles launched at port city, 2 intercepted, others fall in open areas; army says they were fired from area in Strip it has not yet reached

File: Smoke trails seen in the sky as rockets fired from the Gaza Strip target Ashdod, March 25, 2024. (X video screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
File: Smoke trails seen in the sky as rockets fired from the Gaza Strip target Ashdod, March 25, 2024. (X video screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Terrorists in Gaza fired a barrage of rockets at Ashdod on Monday, marking the first time the city has been attacked in over two months.

The Israel Defense Forces said eight rockets were launched at the city and that two were intercepted by air defense systems. The remaining six fell in open areas (the Iron Dome defense system does not attempt to intercept rockets projected to fall outside populated areas).

There were no reports of damage or injuries.

Videos shared on social media showed rocket warning sirens sending residents scrambling for cover on the streets of the Mediterranean port city that has a population of over 220,000.

In one video, passengers on a crowded bus were seen evacuating the vehicle and crouching for cover at the side of the road.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

The last time rockets were fired at the southern coastal city, some 25 kilometers from the Gaza Strip, was on January 14.

The IDF later said it struck the Hamas rocket launching position used in the barrage. The launchers, according to the IDF, were located adjacent to a civilian shelter in central Gaza’s Deir al-Balah.

“The launches were carried out from a humanitarian zone in the Deir al-Balah area… where a civilian population was residing,” the IDF said.

Fighter jets struck the rocket launchers a short while after the attack, the IDF said, adding that secondary blasts seen after the strike indicated additional weaponry in the area.

“The attack was carried out precisely while avoiding harm to civilians who had evacuated the area before the attack was carried out,” the IDF says.

The IDF said the rocket barrage is “further evidence of Hamas’s cynical exploitation of civilian infrastructure, placing its assets amidst civilian areas, using them as human shields.”

Ashdod Mayor Yehiel Lasri said in a message to the city’s residents that “Israel is still in a war and we need to be alert.”

According to the IDF, the rocket barrage was fired from the central Gaza Strip, from an area that troops had not yet reached in their ground offensive.

The rate of rocket fire from Gaza has slowed significantly in recent months as the IDF has advanced through the Palestinian enclave in its war against Hamas, which began with the terror group’s massive attack on Israel.

War erupted on October 7 when Hamas led a devastating cross-border attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians. The thousands of attackers who burst into southern Israel also abducted 253 people of all ages who were taken as hostages in Gaza.

The Hamas attack was carried out under a barrage of thousands of rockets fired at towns and cities across much of Israel.

Israel responded to the attack with a military campaign to destroy Hamas, topple its Gaza regime, and free the hostages.

As the fighting progressed Hamas and allied terror groups initially kept up rocket fire at southern and central regions, also targeting the Jerusalem area and Tel Aviv.

IDF soldiers are seen operating in the Gaza Strip in an undated handout photo released on March 24, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF has moved through Gaza on the ground where it has destroyed or captured large numbers of rockets and also taken over launch areas.

The rocket fire at Ashdod is a sign that Hamas’s arsenal is still not completely depleted.

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