Reporter’s Notebook: Rocket fire lands near Fox News crew as it reported on Israel-Hamas violence

ISRAEL-GAZA BORDER --  Rockets from the Gaza Strip streamed through the sky above our crew.

And then, flashes of light.

Bang. Bang. Bang, we heard, as Israel’s missile defense system, the Iron Dome, intercepted some of the launches.

This round of conflict between Israel and Gaza was underway.

Just before 6 p.m. local time, the Israeli Air Force began pounding Gaza with airstrikes in response to a rocket being fired into central Israel earlier in the day.

Just before 6 p.m. local time, the Israeli Air Force began pounding Gaza with airstrikes in response to a rocket being fired into central Israel earlier in the day.

Just before 6 p.m. local time, the Israeli Air Force began pounding Gaza with airstrikes in response to a rocket being fired into central Israel earlier in the day. (Fox News)

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke alongside President Trump at the White House, his military struck key infrastructure inside Gaza, including the office of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Hamas is the group currently in control of the Gaza Strip.

Here’s how it all began.

My phone rang just before 7 a.m. It was one of my desk producers and I knew before answering what it meant. Breaking news.

GAZA MILITANTS LAUNCH ROCKETS TOWARD ISRAEL AFTER STRIKE ON HAMAS CHIEF'S OFFICE

A rocket fired from Gaza had struck a civilian home, injuring six people. The house was destroyed and assessments were already underway about an Israeli response.

I got to the bureau, grabbed my flak jacket and jumped in the car with my cameraman, producer and technician.

We headed straight to what was left of the home.

When we arrived, you could smell the burnt metal from the rocket explosion, see wood splintered across the area and watch crews picking through the rubble.

Pieces of shrapnel hit 30 homes in the surrounding area and pierced through cars along the street with ease. The fact that Israeli officials weren’t collecting the bodies of the people living here was a miracle. We later found out one of the fathers woke up to air raid sirens blaring, grabbed his family and pulled them into a bomb shelter. The 275-pound warhead exploded before he could get the door to the shelter closed.

Pieces of shrapnel hit 30 homes in the surrounding area and pierced through cars along the street with ease. The fact that Israeli officials weren’t collecting the bodies of the people living here was a miracle.

Pieces of shrapnel hit 30 homes in the surrounding area and pierced through cars along the street with ease. The fact that Israeli officials weren’t collecting the bodies of the people living here was a miracle. (Fox News)

I talked with officers from the Israeli Defense Forces while on the scene, who confirmed that two new brigades were headed to the Gaza border, as well as 1,000 additional reserve troops.

We also spoke with a number of Israeli politicians at the site of the attack. The words of cabinet member Naftali Bennett stood out to me.

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“Hamas needs to see the gates of hell open on it,” he told Fox News.

Then we made our way south, toward the Gaza border.

During the drive, I contacted a source, who is a senior Hamas official inside Gaza. He told me Hamas was not responsible for the attack and that Israel was to blame for the deteriorating situation in Gaza.

“It’s an idiot idea if Israel thinks that attacking Gaza again will be the right response,” the official told Fox News.

He and I had breakfast a few weeks ago in Gaza City and discussed the possibility of conflict with Israel. As I arrived at the border, that possibility looked more and more real.

The border was eerily quiet as we prepared for live shots. The buzz of drones could be heard in the distance.

We later found out one of the fathers woke up to air raid sirens blaring, grabbed his family and pulled them into a bomb shelter. The 275-pound warhead exploded before he could get the door to the shelter closed.

We later found out one of the fathers woke up to air raid sirens blaring, grabbed his family and pulled them into a bomb shelter. The 275-pound warhead exploded before he could get the door to the shelter closed. (Fox News)

One of my producers was traveling with the Israeli prime minister and was updating me on his movements. Another producer, with me, was translating statements from factions in Gaza from Arabic to English, my technician was preparing our feed and IFB to the United States, my cameraman was getting the shot up and my bureau chief talked with me about our editorial angle on the story. This was happening all at the same time. It shows how many moving parts we have to bring you the most accurate and fresh reporting possible.

Our most active live hit occurred during Shepard Smith Reporting. Before the hit, mortars and anti-tank missiles were fired next to our position. Moments after I wrapped my first hit with Shep, another barrage of rockets was fired from Gaza into Israel.

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Covering breaking news on Shepard Smith’s show is like putting out a fire with a firefighter. He is simply the best in the business at managing the coverage from thousands of miles away and guides you through the show, to provide the viewers with the latest developments as they happen around you.

Fox viewers watched live as rockets flew into Israeli territory and were intercepted. Shep broke down the story, alternating hits between our team and Washington Institute Managing Director Michael Singh.

Trey Yingst reporting on the scene. During one of his most active live hits, mortars and anti-tank missiles fired nearby. Moments later, another barrage of rockets was fired from Gaza into Israel. 

Trey Yingst reporting on the scene. During one of his most active live hits, mortars and anti-tank missiles fired nearby. Moments later, another barrage of rockets was fired from Gaza into Israel. 

Fighting continued on the border throughout the night with more than 60 Israeli strikes in Gaza and numerous rockets fired into southern Israel. As the sun rose over the region, all was calm.

For now, an informal ceasefire is underway. Neither side wants to look weak, by adhering to the demands of their enemy. Egyptian negotiators are working at this hour on a permanent ceasefire agreement.

As I type this, we are on our way to a demonstration in the Israeli town of Sderot. Residents there are tired of living under rocket fire and want the air campaign against factions inside Gaza to continue.