Grad missile hits Be'er Sheva / archive
Grad missile hits Be'er Sheva / archiveIsrael news photo: Screenshot

A rocket barrage struck the largest city in Israel's Negev desert region Wednesday morning just as children reached their schools.

A medium-range Grad Katyusha missile landed in an open area just outside of Be'er Sheva, the city sometimes referred to as the “capital of the Israeli south.”

There were no immediate reports of physical injuries, although numerous residents who have been traumatized by past rocket attacks had symptoms triggered by the explosion.

There were also no immediate reports of property damage, as security personnel fanned out to determine precisely where the missile landed and the results of its impact.

Three shorter-range Qassam rockets were launched just a few minutes later, aimed at the western Negev's Eshkol Regional Council district. One of the rockets exploded within a community itself; the others landed on the outskirts of the towns and in other open areas.

As in prior attacks, no one was physically injured and there were no reports of property damage.

Southern Israeli residents have been repeatedly drilled by Home Front Command in self-defense procedures and are well aware of how and where to run for cover upon hearing the activation of the Color Red incoming rocket alert siren in their communities. Israel has tried to invest in providing shelters for civilians.

The window of time for reaching safety varies depending on the distance of each community from terrorists in Gaza who are launching the missiles.

Israel Defense Forces aircraft pounded seven terrorist targets throughout Gaza in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit announced. Direct hits were identified and all aircraft returned safely to base.

The air strikes came in response to a barrage of rockets fired at Israel by operatives in the Hamas terrorist-controlled region overnight Tuesday, between midnight and 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. At least 45 missiles were fired at southern Israel in less than four hours, a barrage that had followed 10 other rockets fired earlier in the evening, including a number aimed at the Ashkelon coastal region. Four Israelis were hurt in the attacks, all of them Border Police officers.