ASHKELON, Israel — The Israeli military, prepared for the latest eruption of cross-border fighting with militant groups in Gaza, designated a code name for its operation just hours after the deadly violence began: Guardians of the Walls, a reference to the ancient ramparts of the Old City of Jerusalem. The militant groups had their own code name for their campaign: Sword of Jerusalem.
By early Tuesday morning, barely 12 hours after Hamas, the Islamist militant group that holds sway in Gaza, had launched a surprise volley of rockets toward Jerusalem, Israel had carried out at least 130 retaliatory airstrikes in the Palestinian coastal territory, according to an Israeli military spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus. Militant groups had fired at least 200 rockets into Israel, Colonel Conricus said.
Twenty-three Palestinians, including nine children, were killed in the airstrikes overnight and 107 others were wounded, according to health officials in Gaza.
speaking on public radio from his hospital bed a few hours later, said that the rocket had landed in his son’s bedroom and that the family had not had time to reach the safety of the stairwell. “Lucky he was not there,” he said of his son. “I found myself lying on the floor, not understanding what had happened.”
Sitting among the shattered glass in her son’s second-floor apartment, Maria Nagiv, 61, said she understood little about the events that had led to the attack.
“What happened in Jerusalem?” she asked as shards crunched beneath her feet. “I haven’t been following anything about that.”