One Dead in Heavy Katyusha Rocketing of Northern Israel Wednesday, August 2, 2006 / 8 Av 5766
After a 2-day lull, Hizbullah resumed its Katyusha attacks with fury, firing 150 mid-day rockets, killing one, wounding dozens. Sirens wailing all over the north; rockets hit as far south as Jenin.
In a town along Israel's northern Mediterranean coast, a man riding a bicycle was killed early this afternoon. A house nearby suffered a direct hit.
The wave of Katyushas began abruptly around 11 AM, and continued into the afternoon hours. One rocket hit the outskirts of Beit She'an, some 65 kilometers south of the Israeli-Lebanese border. This was the furthest south a Katyusha rocket had hit - until a few minutes later, when another Katyusha hit Jenin, an Arab town in the northern Shomron, 70 kilometers south of the border. Residents of nearby Kibbutz Maaleh Gilboa, for the first time in memory, were ordered to their shelters for two hours. No one was hurt in these attacks.
Magen David Adom, Israel's national emergency medical agency, reports that it has treated dozens of wounded: a woman from Tzfat who is listed in serious condition, three with "moderate" wounds, 11 in "light" condition, and the remainder treated for shock. Homes and buildings have been reported damaged in several different cities, and electricity in the upper Galilee has been disrupted.
Mid-day Voice of Israel Radio broadcasts were interrupted every 4-5 minutes with reports of sirens sounding in different Israeli cities in the north. "Residents of these areas are now requested to enter protected areas and adhere to instructions of the security forces," the announcer repeated time and again.
Among the cities targeted by the heavy Katyusha bombardments were Kiryat Shmonah, Maalot, Tzfat, Metulah, Acco, Nahariya, Carmiel, and Hatzor. At least one rocket even fell in the Golan Heights. One of eleven rockets fired at Tiberias hit an empty house directly, and several fires erupted in and near the city.
After a short hiatus, another wave hit the Jezreel Valley, with 4-8 rockets hitting Afula and environs.
In Nahariya, a rocket hit a two-story house, nearly totally destroying the first floor; the family inside, which followed instructions and found shelter inside a solid-concrete room, was not hurt.
An IDF soldier was hurt and is in "moderate" condition, and another was lightly hurt, by a Katyusha rocket that fell on the eastern sector of the Israeli-Lebanese border early this afternoon.
The three soldiers killed on Tuesday in the southern Lebanese Hizbullah stronghold village of Kafr Ita al-Sha'b are: Lt. Ilan Gabai, 22, of Kiryat Tivon, First Sgt. Yehonatan Einhorn, 22, of Moshav Gimzo, and First Sgt. Michael Levine, 21, of Jerusalem. Their bodies were rescued from the battle scene only during the night.
Levine immigrated to Israel from the United States on his own three years ago. Einhorn was buried at Mt. Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem today, and Gabai will be laid to rest later today in his hometown.