The Red Alert alarm was sounded throughout the city prior to the fall of the rocket. Security forces called on local residents to enter shelters.
Late Tuesday night, residents of the port city of Ashdod scrambled for cover as the Color Red rocket alert siren blared a warning in the rising-and-falling pattern late Tuesday night.
Within seconds, the massive explosion typical of a Grad Katyusha missile followed the alarm, heard also by residents in Kiryat Malachi and Gan Yavne.
Security forces immediately began searching for the location of the missile, fired by Gaza terrorists just a few minutes before midnight.
The IDF's Southern Command had already warned residents of southern Israel living near Gaza earlier in the evening to stay on high alert, and remain close to their bomb shelters.
The army's warning followed a day in which Gaza terrorists fired numerous rocket and mortar shells at Jewish towns in the western Negev.
Gaza terrorists continued the attacks into the evening, firing a Kassam rocket at the coastal city of Ashkelon at about 9:00 p.m. The rocket, which landed south of the city, caused no injuries or damage.
A mortar shell exploded in an open space near a kibbutz in the Ashkelon Coastal Region at around 6:00 p.m. Within the same hour, a Kassam rocket slammed into an open field near Ashkelon as well. No one was injured and no damage was reported in either attack.
At least four short-range Kassam rockets exploded in the Sha'ar HaNegev region during the afternoon hours, with several landing close to one of the towns. No one was hurt and no damage was reported.
Israel Air Force fighter pilots killed three Islamic Jihad al-Quds Brigades terrorists in a vehicle earlier in the evening as they were on their way to launch a rocket attack on Israel.
According to the IDF, the targeted terror cell was the same one that had launched a Grad Katyusha missileless than a month ago.
A spokesman for the terrorists, Abu Ahmed, told reporters the group's response to the IDF's retaliation “will be different, and will come soon.”
Earlier in the day, four PA Arabs werethat came in retaliation for the incessant rocket and mortar fire on southern Israel. Four people were killed and five others were injured according to local sources. Two youths, ages 11 and 16, were reportedly among the dead, according to eyewitnesses.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed his regret for the incident, saying “innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip were unintentionally hit.” He emphasized, however, that the shelling was carried out in response to Hamas fire at Israeli civilians.
“It is regrettable that Hamas continues to intentionally rain down dozens of rockets on Israeli civilians even as it uses civilians as human shields,” Netanyahu said in a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office. “While the State of Israel has no intention of bringing about a deterioration of the situation, the IDF will continue to take determined action to defend Israeli citizens.”