As rockets fell, sirens sounded, and the IDF responded, a Jerusalem Post reporter spent an uneasy night on Israel's southern border. Seth J. Frantzman shares with us from his notebook after braving the ongoing chaos near Gaza:
The traffic on roads heading south towards communities around Gaza thins beyond the city of Ashkelon. On Tuesday night, after a day of rocket and mortar fire directed at Israel, the Israeli public was waiting to see if some kind of ceasefire might come into affect or if the day was just the beginning of a new round of conflict.
I decided to drive down to the area near Gaza in case the conflict grew overnight. Just south of Ashkelon, driving with the windows open, the slow, chilling, wail of the sirens began. It was several minutes before midnight and two Iron Dome missiles flew skyward, above highway 4 and intercepted a projectile fired from Gaza. There was a slight thud and momentary bright light framed by a power line. The sirens went on for another half a minute before stopping.
May 29 began the way it ended, with attacks on Israel. In the early morning hours Tuesday, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) had fired almost thirty mortars at Israeli border communities. One landed next to a kindergarten. As the day progressed dozens more rockets were fired by both Hamas and PIJ. The IDF responded throughout the day, hitting military compounds, munitions storage and other targets...
I stopped at a gas station near Kibbutz Alumim. The place was new and its lights bright, like an oasis in the night. While pumping gas loud thuds pierced the air. It felt like the percussion of outgoing artillery. One thud, two thuds, three thuds.