Three Grad Katyusha missiles struck the southern city of Be'er Sheva Sunday afternoon after being launched from Gaza by Hamas terrorists. Rescue crews raced to the scene to provide assistance.
At least one of the missiles landed in an open area, officials said, but two apparently struck residential neighborhoods. At least one apartment building sustained a direct hit, although miraculously no one was physically injured. Numerous residents suffered from trauma and anxiety, however, and at least four people were treated by medics at the scene for hysteria.
Extensive damage has been reported by local sources in the city.
Gaza terrorists have continued to target southern Israeli cities despite repeated warnings that Operation Pillar of Defense will be expanded if the attacks continue.
The IDF sent a message to Gaza over Hamas radio after seizing control of the region's radio waves earlier Sunday, announcing that the operation would be moved up if attacks did not cease.
“Hamas is playing with fire, and is putting your lives in danger for no purpose,” the message stated. “The Israel Defense Forces is moving to the next stage,” the IDF warned Gaza's residents and terrorist leaders.
"By now the IDF has attacked over 1,000 terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip and it is continuing its operations as we speak," reported Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in opening remarks at the weekly government Cabinet meeting Sunday morning. "It is achieving significant hits on weapons aimed at Israeli citizens, as well as on those who use these weapons and those who dispatch them. We are exacting a heavy price from Hamas and the [other] terrorist organizations, and the IDF is prepared for a significant expansion of its operations.
"Today as well, I will continue to speak with world leaders. I appreciate the understanding that they are showing for Israel's right to defend itself. In my talks with the leaders, I emphasize the effort Israel is making to avoid hitting civilians, and this at a time when Hamas and the [other] terrorist organizations are making every effort to hit civilian targets in Israel.
"We are a responsible government that is obligated, above all, to the security of its citizens, and we are acting in accordance with this obligation," Netanyahu affirmed.