Israel showed US 'smoking gun' on Hamas in AP office tower
Several civilians were wounded after rockets hit southern Israel in a massive barrage. (Photo: Courtesy)

Terrorist groups resumed their rocket fire on Israel on Tuesday, with at least several salvos targeting major population centers, including Beersheba, Ashdod, Ofakim.

At least 2 were in critical condition following in the immediate aftermath of the rocket fire that targeted the south around 2 p.m. and they were later pronounced dead. Another 2 were also treated for major injuries, and several others were also reported injured. The dead were apparently workers at some packaging facility. Another direct rocket hit was reported in Ashdod.

This was the second wave of the rocket fire for that day, as Israel continued Operation Guardian of the Walls. Following the barrage, the IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were scheduled to hold consultations, and Israeli forces hit the launchers that were responsible for that salvo.

The barrage hours after Aviv Kochavi told local authority leaders Tuesday morning the Israeli military offensive to hurt the Hamas radical terrorist group controlling Gaza strip was likely to continue for at least another 48 hours, as the operation entered its ninth day.

The first wave of rocket fire, after a rather calm night, began in the morning and then resumed just after noon after a six-hour lull. It included targets as far as Beersheba.

The attack took place as Cairo announced that a delegation of Egyptian intelligence officials was planning to visit Israel later in the day. International efforts to halt the fighting have been gaining speed over the weekend.

In response, the IDF bombed Hamas positions in the Strip, taking out nine rocket launchers.

Over the past nine days, Hamas and other terrorist factions in Gaza have fired over 3,500 rockets at Israel. Some 600 misfired and landed in Gaza, the IDF said. Twelve Israelis — 11 civilians and one soldier — have been killed, and over 650 Israelis have been wounded.

Israel showed US 'smoking gun' on Hamas in AP office tower
Smoke and flames rise following an Israeli airstrike on Gaza terror targets, May 18, 2021. (EPA/Mohammed Saber)

According to Defense News, since May 10, the Iron Dome defense system has intercepted over 1,000 rockets fired from Gaza, approximately 90% of those determined to pose a threat. Rockets headed for unpopulated areas are allowed to hit the ground.

Earlier, the military said that it identified a drone that was approaching the Israeli border over the Jordan Valley. The UAV was shot down and its fragments were collected by troops deployed to the scene, the IDF said.

This was the third drone downed by Israeli forces in the area since the Gaza campaign was launched on May 10.

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a home in Ashdod on Tuesday morning. Three Israelis were lightly wounded. Another rocket hit a home in the western Negev, with no wounded reported.

Overnight Monday, the IDF launched a new series of strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources reported, noting that both IAF aircraft and Israeli Navy vessels were participating in the operation. The IDF reported Tuesday that the latest offensive against terrorist infrastructure in Gaza had killed 30 Hamas operatives and 30 Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives.

The Shehab news agency reported shortly after 2 a.m. on Tuesday that a building belonging to the government authorities in the Gaza Strip had been demolished. The IDF reported overnight that it had taken out the main operations center used by Hamas' internal security forces. The IDF alerted occupants of the building ahead of the strike, allowing them time to leave.

Early Tuesday morning, terrorist factions in Gaza renewed rocket attacks on southern Israel after some six hours of quiet. Warning sirens were activated in Netivot and the western Negev.

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