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Witness: 'scary as hell' rocket strike in Israel's Kiryat Malachi kills 3

GlobalPost senior correspondent for Israel, Noga Tarnopolsky, reports that rocket fire from Gaza hit Israel's Kiryat Malachi early Thursday morning, claiming the first Israeli victims in the clash. Tarnopolsky said the rocket fire left Israeli residents terrified as violence continues to mount after Israel's assassination of a Hamas military leader on Wednesday.

The strikes today come a day after the launch of an Israeli military campaign against militants in Gaza, with Israeli jet and drone attacks reportedly slamming the region overnight,according to The Washington Post. The Israelis launched the offensive in retaliation for more than one hundred missiled fired into southern Israel by Gaza militants earlier in the week.

The violence in southern Kiryat Malachi marks the first reported Israeli civilian casualties since the conflict erupted on Wednesday. The death toll in nearby Gaza after a night of violence was not immediately clear, but the Palestinian envoy to the United Nations told reporters late Wednesday that at least nine people had been killed.

Israel's new Iron Dome missile defense system as so far prevented any widespread casualties in the country's south. But some rockets from Gaza have managed to make it through.

Tomer Nadau, who lives two buildings down from the Kiryat Malachi apartment building that was hit, told GlobalPost that the attack was "scary as hell." 

"These are old buildings," the 18-year-old Haifa resident told GlobalPost. "We don't have bombproof rooms here. Its more like storerooms."

David Yifrach, a neighbor and friend of the three victims, identified as Etti Sarraf, Aharon Samdaga and Isaac Amsalem, told GlobalPost his family fled to "safe rooms" after hearing rocket fire. 

"I heard the alarm and took my kids behind three or four walls," he said. "The building shook! My wife and baby started to cry. Then I said: 'It's not our building.'"

Israel today said more than 180 rockets have landed in Israel since Wednesday afternoon.

More from GlobalPost: Gaza violence escalates (LIVE BLOG)

Gershon Richter, 26, who lives in the building that was hit with his seven siblings, told GlobalPost he returned to the ruined building in order to "to take my brothers and sisters away until we see what happens."

Hamas has claimed responsibility for the Kiryat Malachi strike, according to YNet.

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Comments (4)

Naming Names all around...who is a terrorist here?

At least three Palestinian children were killed a couple days ago. Others buried in the rubble of their homes in the last month; bodies 'buried' unceremoniously by Israeli bulldozers.

Yesterday, drones, buster bombs - made in USA ? - rained down on Gaza; children who aren't identified by name by the press; but labeled terrorist by the Israeli command?

A Palestinian boy playing football in the street...a terrorist?

Names please...give every child at least the identity it deserves , that one small dignity in death?

Now you're concerned?

Arabs have been launching rockets into Jewish areas for years and no stories on that in Minnpost. Save your hypocritical outrage, Miss John-Knudson. Instead, ask Hamas not to initiate military operations from civilian areas. And be sure to check whether or not the picture you are shown is credible. These types of stories have been fabricated before. See "Pallywood" for more information on this propaganda tactic. Even if it were true, you could make that phone call - for a second time - to the Islamic Resistance Movement in Gaza and ask them in your best Minnesota nice to stop launching military operations from civilian areas and promise not to annihilate the Jews.

You won't, of course. You'll save your outrage against the Jews when they defend themselves.

And the nameless numbers rise daily for all sides now...sad yes

No... no "Jewish hatred" here... for that culture is embedded in my heritage and my personal respect for Jewish culture begins with Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber and his words; words that are respected by many whatever one's orientation, but Israel has two faces and here is where

hate rises so easily with misunderstanding and condemns that rights of others.

Maybe there lies the root of hatred...yours maybe?

Not mine... and what I speak of now is the loss of innocence and innocents here...

...names like

: Ahmad Misharawi,11 months. He is not a terrorist

Rana Arafat 7 years old. She is not a terrorist.

Issam Abu Izah, 23. He is not a terrorist

Mohammed Al Kasih,19 He is not a terrorist. All killed on Wednesday and there are more whose names will never be given dignity after such senseless death and dying.

What more can be said or hoped for, but "As in a mirror face to face, so is the heart of man to man." Martin Buber.

Somebody has to give not take away from the other...or so goes this madness without end...

Moral equivalence

Don't start with the usual moral equivalency argument of "all sides get hurt". It is the prime directive of the Islamic Resistance Movement who rule Gaza to annihilate the Jews and destroy a sovereign parliamentary democracy. It has been the practice of the IRM (Hamas) to initiate military operations from civilian areas. That is a violation of international norms. As long as the Islamists insist on placing their civilians in harms way, expect civilian casualties.

Upwards to 37,000 civilians have been butchered in Syria by their own. No comments there? I guess you're waiting for the Jews to fire a gun or build a house in the wrong place.