In the wake of a barrage of 250 missiles launched from Gaza into Israel, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin invited citizens from the Gaza “envelope” (periphery) area and greater southern Israel to his official Jerusalem residence, Beit Hanasi.

“Dear families, groups of children and adults from the Gaza envelope and the areas under missile attack, you are invited to the President’s House to enjoy the educational and experiential tours of the visitor center. The President’s House will provide extra tours to help relieve your tension and give respite for residents of the south until life returns to normal,” he tweeted in Hebrew on Tuesday morning.

Overnight on Monday alone, some 200 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip. Many were intercepted by the Iron Dome air-defense system, but some 26 people in Ashkelon were injured early Tuesday morning after missiles struck their homes.

According to the Israel Trauma Coalition, on Sunday and Monday, hundreds of balloon-borne explosives and incendiary devices were launched from Gaza into southern Israel, causing 39 fires. In addition, loudspeakers set up in Gaza near the border carried threatening messages in Hebrew to Israelis.

As a result, the ITC “has seen a rise in the number of people approaching our Resilience Centers for therapy,” reported ITC director Taly Levanon.

“A population particularly at risk are young families that recently coped with almost a year-long stay at home [due to coronavirus-spurred lockdowns] and now need to cope with the emotional price of living with renewed terror attacks,” she said, add that caregivers are another population at risk.

The Israel Defense Forces’ Home Front Command and local councils within a 40-kilometer (25-mile) radius of the Gaza Strip decided to keep schools closed on Tuesday and to ban large public gatherings.

Although most of the projectiles landed in southern Israel, some missiles reached as far as the western outskirts of Jerusalem on Monday. The IDF is responding with targeted retaliatory strikes by air and is building up ground troops in case the conflict escalates.

This article was originally published by Israel21c.

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