Shocked but grateful that no one was killed, residents of the small central Israeli village of Mishmeret, out of the usual range of enemy rocket fire, are pulling together with the help of the town’s Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries after a rocket from Gaza demolished two adjoining residences early Monday morning, injuring adults and children all from the same family.

Robert Wolf, owner of one of the two devastated homes in the agricultural community some 13 miles north of Tel Aviv known for its luxury residences, was cited in news reports saying he and his wife, Susan, were in their home with their 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 other nearby home and several vehicles.

Rabbi Choni Yakont, the Chabad-Lubavitch emissary who has operated a small outreach and education organization in the close-knit community of some 1,000 people with his wife, Esti, for the past four years, told that he knows the family well. “This is a very good and very beautiful family. Our community is united and close, and from early in the morning, when we learned what happened, everyone gathered to see how to help, including collecting as much clothing and food as needed.”

“Of course, everyone keeps saying a great miracle happened,” he added, noting that the missile hit the center of the house, and only relatively minor injuries ensued.

Israel’s Iron Dome or other missile-defense systems were apparently not deployed in or near the quiet tract near Netanya to attempt to intercept what was speculated to be a long-range J-80 rocket for failure of sufficient warning from intelligence or other sources.

Rocket Detected in the Early Morning

Security teams cleared debris from the area.
Security teams cleared debris from the area.

The rocket launch was detected at 5:22 a.m, from southern Gaza, the Rafiach area, 75 miles from Mishmeret, which is the farthest an enemy rocket has reached since the Gaza attacks of 2014, when projectiles traveled as far as to the Haifa area. Warning sirens sounded, giving residents three minutes to seek shelter before the rocket hit around 5:25 a.m., the IDF said.

According to the Magen David Adom ambulance service, among the injured was a 59-year-old female member of the British-Israeli family, who suffered light burns, shrapnel wounds and trauma as she attempted to run to a safe room. A 30-year-old woman from the same family was also moderately wounded, with shrapnel hitting her leg.

The other people in the home—a 30-year-old man, a 12-year-old girl, a 3-year-old boy and a 6-month-old baby—sustained light wounds, the ambulance service said. All were taken to the Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba. Two dogs were said to have perished in the direct hit on the two homes inhabited by the family that were connected by a hallway. Several others in the area were treated for anxiety attacks and light injuries from falling while running to bomb shelters.

As community members pitched in to support the family materially and emotionally, District Police Spokesman Commander Ami Ben-David called on residents to continue with their daily routines, stressing schools and businesses will be operating on regular schedule. “There was an incident at 5:20 a.m., and it is over and it is back to the routine,” he said.

By early Monday evening, no one had claimed responsibility for the attack. The Israeli military accused the terror group Hamas, which controls Gaza, though a Hamas official said it had “no interest” in launching an attack.

“It’s a Hamas rocket, made by Hamas,” said IDF spokeswoman Maj. Mika Lifshitz. “It has an ability to reach more than 120 kilometers [75 miles].”

“We see Hamas as responsible for all that happens in the Gaza Strip,” she added.

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

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, who was in the United States to speak at the AIPAC convention and for a White House meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, said he planned to cut his trip short after being briefed by Israel’s military leadership. He declared that he would be responding to the “criminal attack” forcefully.

Meanwhile, the world community expressed its solidarity with Israel, with strong words of condemnation against the attack.

“We unequivocally condemn today’s rocket into Israel from Gaza,” said David Quarrey, British ambassador to Israel. “Our thoughts are with the British-Israeli family whose house in Mishmeret was hit. There can be no justification of any kind for this attack, whose consequences could have been devastating.”