An early morning rocket fired from the Gaza Strip demolished a house in central Israel on Monday, wounding seven people and prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cut short a trip to Washington. The military quickly mobilized troops and called up reserves, setting the stage for a potential major conflagration shortly before Israel’s upcoming elections.
The rocket destroyed a residential home in the farming community of Mishmeret, north of the city of Kfar Saba, wounding six members of a family. The Magen David Adom rescue service said it treated seven people overall, including two women who were moderately wounded. The others, including two children and an infant, had minor wounds.
The sounds of air raid sirens jolted residents of the Sharon area, northeast of Tel Aviv, from their sleep shortly after 5 a.m., sending them scurrying to bomb shelters. A strong sound of an explosion followed.
The Israeli military said militants from Gaza’s ruling Hamas movement fired the rocket from one of their launching pads in southern Gaza Strip, near Rafah. Maj. Mika Lifshitz, a military spokeswoman, said it was a self-manufactured rocket with a range of 120 kilometers (75 miles). She added that two armor and infantry brigades were being mobilized to the Gaza front and that a limited drafting of reserves was also taking place.