7 injured as Gaza rocket hits Israeli home

Seven people have been injured after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a house belonging to a British-Israeli family in central Israel.

The rocket came down at 05:25 (03:25 GMT) in the community of Mishmeret, 20km (12 miles) north of Tel Aviv.

This is the furthest a Palestinian rocket has reached in Israel since the 2014 conflict with militants in Gaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a trip to the US over the attack and vowed to respond with force.

So far no-one has said they carried out the attack. The Israeli military accused the militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, but a Hamas official said it had “no interest” in doing so.

A week and a half ago, two rockets were launched towards Tel Aviv and nobody was hurt. The Israeli military responded with dozens of air strikes across Gaza, which injured four people.

Hamas and Israeli officials later said those rockets had been fired “by mistake”.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the rocket that hit the house in Mishmeret was launched from Rafah in southern Gaza, about 120km (75 miles) away.

The explosion from the rocket severely damaged the house and set it on fire.

Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said it had treated two women who were moderately wounded and five other people, including an infant, a three-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl, who had minor wounds.

The house belonged to Robert and Susan Wolf, two British-Israeli dual nationals who are originally from London.

Mr Wolf told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that he had been at home with his wife, son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren when the rocket hit.

“If we hadn’t got to the bomb shelter in time I would be burying all my family,” he said.

The blast also caused damage to at least one nearby home and several vehicles.

Although the rocket triggered sirens in the Sharon and Emek Hefer regions, Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system was not activated.

When asked for an explanation, an IDF spokesman told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper: “Iron Dome protects the areas in which it is stationed, according to operational situation assessments.”

Intended to combat missiles launched from ranges of between 40km and 70km, each Iron Dome battery can protect an area of roughly 155 sq km. –BBC

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