The head of the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, Ofir Liebstein, was killed in the deadly rocket fire from Hamas into Israel on Saturday morning, The Times of Israel reported, citing local sources.
"Ofir was killed when he went to defend a town during the terrorist attack," the report said, quoting a statement from the Council. The deputy head of the Council, Yossi Keren, has taken interim charge of the body following Liebstein's death, The Times of Israel reported.
According to the latest reports, at least 5 people have been killed and over 100 injured in the Hamas rocket fire. The centre and south of Israel came under heavy rocket fire for over 3.5 hours on Saturday morning, The Times of Israel reported.
Further, Hamas claimed to have kidnapped five Israel Defence Force (IDF) soldiers, The Jerusalem Post reported, adding that the IDF did not confirm the statement. After the attack, the IDF launched retaliatory strikes on the Gaza Strip.
IDF Launches Retaliatory Operations In Gaza Strip
However, according to The Jerusalem Post, while the IDF launched retaliatory operations in the Gaza Strip, Israeli action remained minimal even two hours after the rocket attacks started.
Israeli media reported that Hamas currently has 33 prisoners of war, including civilians and soldiers.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office released a statement saying that the Security Cabinet would convene around 1pm after assessing the situation, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid is set to meet PM Netanyahu after the security meeting, the report added. Earlier, Lapid received a security briefing from the Israeli Prime Minister's military secretary, Avi Gil, following the rocket strikes.
"Israel is in an emergency" and Lapid would back a "harsh military response" to Hamas's coordinated attack, a statement from the Opposition's leader's office said.
Israel Defence Minister Yoav Gallant approved the draft of reserve soldiers in accordance with the IDF's requirements.
He further announced a "special security situation" in Israel's Homefront, within a 0-80 km radius of the Gaza Strip, The Jerusalem Post reported, adding that this further enabled the IDF to provide civilians with safety instructions at "close and relevant sites".
"Hamas is the ruling entity in the Gaza Strip, responsible for this attack, and will bear the consequences and responsibility for the events," the IDF said.
At least one rocket directly hit a building in the Gederot Regional Council, killing a woman in her 60s, according to a report.