SIREN ROARS IN TEL AVIV, ROCKETS STRIKE CITY SUBURBS. Residents scramble for bomb shelters along Israel's central coastal cities



by Aaron Klein

TEL AVIV — For the first time since the 1991 Gulf War, a siren today went off in Tel Aviv warning of a possible incoming rocket and sending residents scrambling to their bomb shelters.

An explosion was heard by KleinOnline in Tel Aviv. An explosion could also be heard in the neighborhing city of Bat Yam, according to residents there.

The sources of those possible explosions are under investigation by the Israel Defense Forces.  However, Israeli defense sources confirm to KleinOnline that one rocket landed in an open area between Jaffa and Bat Yam.  Jaffa borders Tel Aviv.

The Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad was quick to claim responsibility for what it said was missile fire at Tel Aviv. The organization has claimed it fired Fajr-5 missiles aimed at Tel Aviv.

Earlier today, one rocket launched from the Gaza Strip landed in Rishon Letzion, some 7 miles south of Tel Aviv.

No causalties were reported in either Tel Aviv or Rishon Leztion.

If the rocketing of Tel Aviv is confirmed, the attack would mark the farthest rocket strike from Gaza into Israel to date. It would be seen as a major escalation.

Earlier today, three Israelis were killed by a direct rocket hit on their family home in the Gaza border town of Kiryat Malakhi. A four year old Israeli boy and an infant were moderately wounded in separate rocket attacks.

More than 200 rockets have been fired from Gaza since Israel yesterday started what it calls Operation Pillar of Defense targeting the terrorist infrastrucure in Gaza.

In Rishon Letzion today, a siren went off alerting residents there of possible incoming projectiles after the Israeli Defense Forces detected that one or two long range rockets had been fired from Gaza.

Palestinian media is reporting Hamas’s so-called military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Bridgades, is claiming responsiblity for the Rishon Letzion rocketing.

The rocketing of Rishon Letzion comes less than 24 hours after KleinOnline quoted senior Hamas members saying the Islamist group was debating sending rockets to that city.

The Hamas leadership in Gaza has also been studying the possibility of assassinating Israeli figures or launching suicide bombings inside Israel, those senior Hamas members said yesterday.

Also being debating by Hamas is the immediate use of antiaircraft and other advanced missiles to target Israel Air Force operations over the Gaza Strip, the Hamas members said.

According to the senior Hamas members speaking to KleinOnline, the responses Hamas is currently debating launching against Israel include:

1) Firing long range rockets aimed at Gedera and Rishon Letzion.  Such rocket firing would be considered a strategic game changer.

2)   Launching suicide bombings inside Israel. Any attempted suicide attacks would most likely originate with the Hamas infrastructure within the West Bank. Israeli security sources told KleinOnline that Hamas maintains the capability of attempting suicide bombings from the West Bank.

3) Assassinating Israeli figures.  The Hamas members said the group is already compiling a list of possible targets but would not comment to KleinOnline about whether those targets were political, military or civilian.

Further, the senior Hamas members said the group is likely to use antiaircraft and other advanced missiles against IAF airplanes operating over the Gaza Strip.