Rocket sirens were heard in the Jerusalem area on Sunday morning, in the first occurrence of missiles launched by Gaza terrorists towards the Israeli capital since Israel’s military operation began two days ago.
The siren was heard during a live broadcast of Israel’s version of the reality TV show Big Brother, which is filmed in Neve Ilan, a community on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The live feed was cut just as contestants on the show were seen running for cover in the house’s safe room. Until that incident, contestants were unaware of the flareup.
The last rocket launched towards Jerusalem was in May 2021, marking the beginning of an 11-day conflict between Israel and the Hamas terror group in Gaza.
Sunday also saw increased tensions in the capital as Jewish pilgrims ascended the flashpoint Temple Mount site in Jerusalem, the site of the two biblical temples, for the Tisha B’av fast. Tisha B’av, which Jews observe from Saturday night until Sunday night, marks the anniversary of the destruction of the two temples in 586 BCE and 70 CE respectively.
Terrorists from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group continued firing dozens of rockets at Israeli communities surrounding the border with Gaza.
Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip have launched more than 580 rockets at Israel in a 36 hour period. Around 120 of those have misfired and fallen within the Strip, the IDF said.
The Iron Dome missile defense system successfully intercepted 97 percent of the 220 rockets fired into civilian population centers. Rocket sirens blared in several Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv, over the weekend, forcing Israelis to run for cover in bomb shelters.
The flareup began in the wake of the arrest of Bassam al-Sa’adi, the leader of PIJ in the West Bank, which the terror group was seeking to avenge by attacking Israeli targets around the border with Gaza.
The Israeli air force has conducted numerous strikes in Gaza targeting the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group as part of Operation Breaking Dawn launched Friday to tackle what Israeli leaders said was an immediate concrete threat by the PIJ to Israeli communities.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said the goal of the latest campaign, dubbed Operation Breaking Dawn, was “the elimination of a concrete threat.”
“Israel will continue to act without hesitation to ensure the peace of its residents,” he said at a cabinet meeting on Saturday night.
Earlier on Saturday, Israeli media said the IDF had killed Khalid Mansour, the head of the PIJ’s military wing in the southern Strip.
A day earlier, Israel assassinated senior PIJ commander Tayseer al-Jabari, the mastermind behind hundreds of rocket attacks during last year’s 11-day war in May.
Maj. Gen. Oded Basyuk, head of Operations Directorate in the Israel Defense Forces, told reporters on Saturday that “all top Islamic Jihad security officials in the [Gaza] Strip have been assassinated.”