Chabad Hasidim Victims of Hamas Rocket Attacks
Building in Kiryat Malachi struck by rocket.
Three Israeli civilians were killed at about 9 a.m. Thursday morning after a rocket hit their apartment building in the city of Kiryat Malakhi (Qiryat Malakhi) in Israel’s southern district.
The victims, two men and a woman, were identified as Ahron Smadga, Yitzchak Amselam, and a 25 year old expectant woman, Mirah (nee Cohen) Scharf. An infant and several children were among the wounded who were taken to nearby hospitals. The victims were members of the city’s Chabad community.
Kiryat Malakhi is about 11 miles from Ashkelon, with a population of about 21,000.
According to reports from Israel, from about midnight Wednesday to Thursday morning, some 45 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip towards southern Israel, of which Iron Dome intercepted 13. Overall, nearly 200 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel’s South in the 24 hours since the IDF killed Ahmed Jabari, Hamas’s top military commander, as part of a campaign to end the incessant terror in Israel’s coastal region. The campaign was Israel’s most intense response against Gaza in recent years.
Israeli political consultant Jonny Daniels citing an Israeli source and a Chabad leader in Israel told The Algemeiner that among the victims of this morning’s Gaza rocket attack on the Israeli city of Kiryat Malachi was a 25 year old Chabad ‘shlucha (female emissary)’ to New Dehli, India named Mirah (nee Cohen) Scharf, who was visiting Israel this week for the memorial service of Chabad Mumbai terror victims Gabi and Rivka Holtzberg. The Hebrew anniversary of their brutal murder is today.
According to Chabad website Lubavitch.com, Scharf was pregnant. Sources on Facebook say she was the mother of 3 young children.
A second victim named Ahron Smadga said to be in his late forties was the father of the 8 month old baby girl who was injured.
‘He was married for 20 years and couldn’t have children then he had twin boys nine years ago, and 8 months ago his daughter was born and he was walking around with a smile on his face that he had a daughter after all this years,’ Daniels told The Algemeiner.
‘He was one of the first Chabad soldiers to join the Israeli Army,’ he said.
The third victim was 22 year old Yitzchak Amselam. The funeral is planned for later today.
Israeli Chabad websites Shturem and COL, reported that the rocket attack hit the neighborhood of Nachlas Har Chabad and that ‘the entire community is devastated from the tragedy.’
My daughter-in-law is from Kiryat Malachi. Although her family now lives in the U.S. they still own a house in this neighborhood.
UPDATE: A 4th victim, infant child of the Sharf’s, has died.
My son and his wife became friends with the Sharfs after the terrorist attack in Mumbai, when they traveled to India to participate in the reconstruction of the Chabad center.