Four Israelis Killed by Barrage of Gaza Rockets on Southern Israel

Israel names fatalities as 58-year-old Moshe Agadi, 49-year-old Ziad Alhamada, 67-year-old Moshe Feder and 21-year-old Pinchas Menachem Pshuzman

Rockets are launched from Gaza Strip to Israel, Sunday, May 5, 2019.
Ariel Schalit / AP

Four Israelis were killed by Gaza rocket fire since hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian factions began Saturday morning. 

The first fatality was Moshe Agadi, a 58-year-old man who died after a rocket launched from Gaza hit his mother-in-law's home in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on Saturday. He was evaucated to the nearby Barzilai Hospital after being wounded by shrapnel in his chest and abdomen. According to family members, Agadi did not reach the house's bomb shelter before the rocket fell.

A house in Ashkelon that was hit by rocket fire from Gaza, May 5, 2019.
Eliyahu Hershkowitz

Agadi is survived by a wife and four children. 

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Documentation of the rocket strike at the Agadi home, Ashkelon

His family said that he was one of 14 children who immigrated to Israel from Iran. Agadi was a green grocer in the Ashkelon market. He was spending the night at his mother-in-law's home at the time of the strike. His family described him as "a righteous man," who "loved everyone" and "chased after good deeds."

Moshe Agadi's funeral, May 5, 2019
Ilan Assayag

"From what I understood from his wife, as much as she was able to explain, they had stepped out for some air between sirens," Agadi's brother Shmulik said, "and when everyone ran to the house it caught him in the doorway. I wasn't there myself."

Moshe Agadi
Courtesy of Agadi family

Speaking on army radio, his brother, Shai Agadi said, "My brother, Moshe, knew to respect every person... He had a beautiful face, respected his parents, just like it's written in the book. We don't know where to go from here, we feel helpless. He would be the one to give us hope if he was here... he was always happy with his lot in life, and this is a loss that cannot be described in words. We still haven't processed it," he said.

"I don't know exactly what the story was, why he wasn't in the shelter, but we're suffering from the results,"  he added.

The second fatality, 49-year-old man Ziad Alhamada , was critically wounded after a rocket hit a factory where he worked in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon and died of his wounds shortly thereafter.

Ziad Alhamada

The third Israeli killed by Gaza fire has been identified as the 67-year-old Moshe Feder from the central Israeli city of Kfar Saba. Feder died after an anti-tank missile hit a car he was driving near the Gaza border. His wife, Iris, said that he was "a kind man, generous, loving, a wonderful father, a great friend, beloved and dear to all of his friends." 

Moshe Feder and his wife, Iris.
Courtesy of the Feder family

The two were together for 17 years. Prior to their marriage, Iris was widowed after her first husband died in th 1997 Israeli helicopter disaster. In the incident, two Israel Air Force helicopters ferrying Israeli soldiers into Israeli security zone in southern Lebanon collided in mid-air, killing all 73 Israeli military personnel on board.

A paramedic who treated Feder said that "on our way to Ashkelon, we saw a car that had caught fire. We pulled over and gave initial medical care to the driver, who was critically wounded."

Pinchas Menachem
Courtesy of the Menachem family

The fourth fatality is the 21-year-old Pinchas Menachem Pshuzman, a member of the ultra-Orthodox Gur sect. He was wounded by shrapnel from a rocket that landed in the backyard of a building in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod. 

In addition, two factory workers who were employed by the Ashkelon factory, where Alhamada died, were wounded in the strike. One was seriously injured, and the other is in moderate condition. 

The place does have a shelter, but those wounded were not in it. The rocket struck within the factory. 

According to one of the factory's employees, those wounded were truck drivers. One of the workers of the factory told Haaretz that he shouted at one of those wounded to run to the shelter, but the man remained outdoors. "I told him, 'come with me, run to the shelter,' but he said 'no, no need,'" the man related. 

Also Sunday, a 30-year-old Thai national was moderately wounded from rocket shrapnel that struck an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council. 

In Ashkelon, seven rocket strikes were reported Sunday overnight, including the one that killed Agadi and a rocket that fell on an academic institution in the city. In Sderot, one rocket strike was reported.

A 45-year-old man was mildly injured when a rocket fell in Laqiya in the northern Negev desert. Another resident of the town, Amiad Abu Bader, told Haaretz that not everyone in the town slept in reinforced safe rooms. "We heard the siren. We're not the type of people who go to shelters, we went up to the roof to see where it fell," he said. "We heard a loud boom and saw the rocket fall."

Bader added that he hopes the situation will calm down when the Ramadan holiday begins in the coming week. "I want the government to take care of it. We don't want this situation. We don't want war, we want everything to be quiet. In two days Ramadan will begin, and people want the month to pass in peace and enjoy Ramadan," he said.

On Saturday, a 50-year-old man was moderately injured when a rocket hit his home in Ashkelon. An 80-year-old woman was seriously injured when a rocket hit her house in Kiryat Gat. According to Magen David Adom, 107 people have been treated since Saturday morning, including 10 who were injured by shrapnel, and 14 who fell while running to shelter. Another 78 were treated for panic attacks.