ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 150

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'There was a love between them that you don't see every day'

Woman killed by rocket was helping paralyzed husband reach shelter, says grandson

Inga Avramyan, 80, crushed by ceiling when projectile slammed into Rehovot home; grandson says she cared for husband injured in car accident: ‘Don’t know what he’ll do without her’

  • Police and rescue forces at the scene where a rocket fired from Gaza hit and damaged a house in Rehovot on May 11, 2023, killing resident Inga Avramyan. (Flash90)
    Police and rescue forces at the scene where a rocket fired from Gaza hit and damaged a house in Rehovot on May 11, 2023, killing resident Inga Avramyan. (Flash90)
  • Inga Avramyan (Courtesy: Family; used in  accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
    Inga Avramyan (Courtesy: Family; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
  • Police and rescue forces at the scene where a rocket fired from Gaza hit and damaged a house in Rehovot on May 11, 2023. (Liron Moldovan/Flash90)
    Police and rescue forces at the scene where a rocket fired from Gaza hit and damaged a house in Rehovot on May 11, 2023. (Liron Moldovan/Flash90)

The woman killed in a rocket strike in Rehovot was named as 80-year-old Inga Avramyan, as her grandson said Saturday that she died as she tried to help her paralyzed husband reach shelter.

Avramyan’s husband Sergei had limited mobility after a car accident left him partially paralyzed and with a leg amputated, meaning he was unable to reach shelter unaided. He was lightly wounded in the rocket attack.

“She was hit by a collapsing ceiling, while Grandpa Sergei was only slightly injured,” the grandson, named only as Arthur, told Channel 12 news.

“They didn’t have time to get to the reinforced room,” he said.

“Grandpa was probably stressed and grandma tried to help him get up. It was difficult for him to move because his leg was amputated and he is partially paralyzed after a car accident,” the relative said.

“They heard the siren late and had too little time to get to the shelter,” the grandson said.

A municipality worker inspects the damage to an apartment building a day after it was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Rehovot, Israel, Friday, May 12, 2023. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

Arthur said that his grandparents had immigrated from Yerevan in Armenia around 30 years ago.

“My grandmother taught Russian, she was an educated and wise woman. My grandfather had a manufacturing plant. They lived a high-status life in Armenia, but they struggled in Israel with the Hebrew language,” he said.

Inga Avramyan (Courtesy: Family; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

“After the accident, my grandfather was paralyzed in half of his body and used a wheelchair,” he said. “My grandmother cared for him with love and devotion. She raised us all and was a brave woman.”

“I don’t know what my grandfather will do without her. He communicated only with her. She was his whole life. There was a love between them that you don’t see every day,” he said.

The direct hit blew a massive hole in the Avramyam’s apartment on the third story of a building in Rehovot, a city of 150,000 some 45 kilometers (27 miles) north of Gaza, raining rubble on the street below.

“It was hard to see — everything was destroyed and there was nothing left,” Arthur said.

Avramyan is set to be buried at the Rishon Lezion cemetery and the family said that when the exact time and date were announced, the public was invited to attend.

“Grandma wanted to live her life with dignity and it should end with dignity too,” Arthur said.

An Israeli flag hangs behind a damaged car, in front of a building where a person was killed by a rocket fired launched by terrorists in the Gaza Strip, in the central city of Rehovot, on May 12, 2023. (Jack Guez/AFP)

In the wake of the attack, Home Front Command chief Maj. Gen. Rafi Milo, visiting said the reinforced room was being used for storage, and said it was an example of why it was important to follow instructions of the Home Front.

The Israel Defense Forces said Friday that an Iron Dome interceptor missile suffered a “technical fault” on Thursday, missing the rocket launched from the Gaza Strip that ultimately struck the building in Rehovot, killing Avramyan and injuring several others — four moderately and one lightly.

However, military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari described the issue — the second to plague the system in just over a week — as likely isolated, claiming that the missile defense system managed to down 91 percent of targeted projectiles. Last year, the IDF boasted of a 97% interception rate.

He said the deadly rocket was similar to the hundreds of other crudely made projectiles launched from Gaza over the recent escalation, but it hit the apartment building at “a complex angle,” causing widespread destruction.

An Iron Dome air defense system is seen in central Israel, May 10, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The malfunction came after the Iron Dome had a separate issue that kept it from activating during a flareup with Islamic Jihad earlier this month. The malfunction led to several rockets landing in populated areas, including one that hit a construction site in the city of Sderot and wounded three foreign nationals.

The Iron Dome has seen malfunctions in the past. In May 2021, a technical issue with an Iron Dome battery during a massive rocket barrage toward the coastal city of Ashkelon prevented some rockets from being intercepted and may have been responsible for the deaths of two women and the injury of dozens of people.

Operation Shield and Arrow, as it is known in the military, was launched early Tuesday with the killing of three top Islamic Jihad commanders in the wake of rocket fire from Gaza earlier this month. Another three senior Islamic Jihad members have been killed in separate strikes during the fighting.

The terror group responded to the deadly strikes in Gaza by firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli communities, killing one, injuring at least 22 others, and causing extensive material damage, mostly across southern Israel.

Over 40 people have also sought treatment for acute anxiety from nearby impacts.

At least 33 people in Gaza have been killed since Israel launched the surprise offensive, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, and at least 93 more injured.

Military officials have said Israel has killed at least 18 terror operatives but admit the IDF was responsible for the deaths of 10 civilians during the initial strikes, which destroyed residential structures where families were sleeping. Officials believe four Gaza civilians have been killed by Palestinian rocket misfires.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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