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Israel's South Braces For Missile Attacks


As Israel and Hamas continue launching attacks, residents of the Israeli city of Tel Aviv and communities to its south remain on alert for missile strikes. Sheera Frenkel reports that many fear the current round of violence is nowhere close to being over.

SHEERA FRENKEL, BYLINE: Last night, sirens warning of an impending rocket attack sounded in Tel Aviv for the first time in two decades. Militants in the Gaza Strip fired two long-range rockets into central Israel, hitting just south of Israel's commercial center. It struck farther into Israel's densely populated center than ever before. No one was injured in that attack but many in Tel Aviv say it's a wakeup call that this round of violence in Gaza is far from over.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Speaking foreign language)

FRENKEL: This advertisement, which played widely this morning on television and radio stations in central Israel, was meant to remind residents of what to do in case of a rocket attack. Going through the various kinds of buildings, the presenter warns people that they have 90 seconds from the sound of a siren to seek shelter. While streets in southern Israel stand largely empty and schools and businesses remain shut, few in central Israel say they are changing their routines due to last night's rockets.

Yael Mazri, a 42-year-old resident of Tel Aviv, told Israel's army radio that her bomb shelter was filled with old furniture and bicycles. She says she hasn't needed it in over 20 years, but she'll consider cleaning it out if violence continues to escalate. Late into the night, Israeli military tanks could be seen edging closer to the Gaza Strip. Thirty thousand reservists put on alert by the Israeli defense minister waited to see if the government would expand its military operation to a ground invasion.

This morning, Israel's agreement to hold fire for three hours while the Egyptian prime minister visited Gaza did not last. Rockets were fired by Gaza militants into southern Israel and Israeli planes responded with air strikes. For NPR News, I'm Sheera Frenkel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sheera Frenkel
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