While the conflict between Israel and Gaza took a very violent twist following the Oct. 7 terror attack carried out by Hamas militants, southern Israel has been a persistent site of rocket attacks for the last 20 years.
Rebel News reporter Avi Yemini travelled to Ashkelon, an Israeli city of around 150,000 not far from the border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
As rockets rained down in the area on Oct. 7, one man told Rebel News what his experience was like during that frightful day. After hearing 10 sirens warning of incoming fire, Ashkelon resident Rami Tzafon told Yemini that his wife saved his life.
Tzafon says that after hearing so many sirens, he thought he could leave the bomb shelter he was hiding in to go make coffee. That's when the sirens starting blaring again.
“My wife called me back,” he says, noting he's just married and didn't want to upset his new bride. “It's very dangerous, even more dangerous than the rockets,” he jokes.
“So I came back, closed the door and then I saw the flash of orange light,” Tzafon recalls. “I opened the door...and everything is dust,” he says referring to his apartment.
“Of course, we are OK because we are still alive compared to those who were killed, murdered, kidnapped, raped, burned alive,” he says.
Tzafon invited Yemini into his apartment to see the aftermath, showing the reporter where shrapnel from the rocket had blown through doors, cabinets and more, along with his destroyed balcony.
Giving insight into what life is like for Israelis within range of Hamas rockets, the Ashkelon resident explains how new apartments are built with bomb shelters in them. “It's a reality we are living in,” Tzafon notes.
“It's not our first year in Ashkelon, unfortunately we are used to rockets.” Taking the impromptu tour inside, Tzafon showed Rebel News how destructive the blast was, damaging the iron curtains and bulletproof glass of the bomb shelter where he and his wife were hiding.
Rocket attacks happen at least once a year, he says, particularly when Israeli forces conduct operations within Gaza. This time, however, things were different. “The volume [of rockets], the number of sirens and the number of interceptions above the city, above the towns” were far more significant in the Oct. 7 attack, Tzafon explains. “I do not remember an attack on Israel like this.”
Responding to those who suggest Israelis should just tolerate the rocket attacks, given they are defended by the Iron Dome and other security measures, Tzafon says people who use their free will to support Hamas, “those who support burning children alive, raping women, kidnapping kids. I mean, these people are terrorists,” he tells Yemini.
“I think we should hit back, otherwise the United States, Canada, all European countries will be hit by terrorists. We have the barrier here, and we should survive, we should hit back, we should show our force.”
Follow all of Avi Yemini's reporting from Israel at TheTruthAboutTheWar.com. And, if you'd like to support Rebel News' 100% viewer-funded journalism, you can also make a donation to fund our coverage on that page as well.