Major Escalation in Gaza as Hamas Mortar Barrage Hits Southern Israel

Largest attack on southern Israel since 2014 sees 27 mortar shells and rockets fired from Gaza, most intercepted

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The day began with the sound of air raid sirens for Israelis living in what's known as the "Gaza envelope." At around 7 AM, the "Red Alert" early warning system began sounding in towns and villages within rocket range of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

During the morning barrage some 27 mortar shells and short-range rockets had been fired by Hamas and allied forces into southern Israel.

A spokesman for the Israeli military reported that the Iron Dome anti-missile system had managed to intercept most of the projectiles that actually posed a threat to Israeli communities. But several mortars did get through. One landed in the playground of a local kindergarten that was thankfully still empty at the time.

Residents living in the area were ordered to keep their children at home and to take cover in their bomb shelters.

The barrage was the largest attack from Gaza on southern Israel since the last Gaza war in 2014.

Israeli forces responded with targeted artillery and air strikes on Hamas and other terrorist positions.

PHOTO: The playground of a kindergarten in southern Israel that was hit by a Hamas mortar shell early Tuesday morning. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

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