Air Raid Sirens, Explosions Rock Southern Israel in Iranian Attack; Guests Seek Refuge in Hotel Shelter

Toshiyuki Fukushima / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Guests evacuate to a hotel shelter by the Dead Sea in southern Israel in the early hours of Sunday.

EIN GEDI, Israel – Air raid sirens and explosions were heard across Israel during Iran’s drone and missile attack. A loud explosion like thunder woke me up at around 1:50 a.m. on Sunday in my room at a hotel along the Dead Sea in southern Israel. Massive booms followed, shaking the room and the windows. It was like a bomb had dropped somewhere.

For a moment, I could not figure out what was happening. Amidst the shouts of “Get out!” from outside and a shrill air raid siren, I hurried to the hotel’s shelter. While evacuating, I looked up at the sky and saw something like fireworks: an interceptor missile likely had shot something down. In preparation for a fire caused by falling bombs, sprinklers started spraying water all over the garden.

Upon opening the steel door to the shelter, I found a space about the size of a school classroom filled with dozens of hotel guests who had fled barefooted or in their pajamas. Most were Israelis on vacation. Everyone seemed horrified as they made phone calls or searched for information on their smartphones.

Hotel staff members reassured everyone, saying that the shelter was sturdy and safe. An Israeli woman with her children said she never thought Iran would actually attack Israel.

Thirty minutes after the air raid siren sounded, the surroundings became quiet, and many guests returned to their rooms. The hotel staff advised guests to get to the shelter within a minute if the siren sounded again. Some families, out of fear, chose to spend the night in the shelter.