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Seven Kassams Since Last Night

With Kassams falling not only in Sderot, but also further away, five hunger-strikers continue to demand safety from Palestinian rocket launchers in Hamas-controlled Gaza.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 6/16/2006, 9:52 AM / Last Update: 6/16/2006, 12:33 PM

Five Kassam rockets were fired towards Israel over the night, from different areas of the Gaza Strip, and two more later this morning. Of the first five, two fell in the westernmost point of the Negev - near Kerem Shalom, south of the Egyptian-Gaza border city of Rafah - while another one smashed into a field well to the north, near Sderot. Two others landed in Gaza itself. No casualties or damage was reported.

Today's two rockets were of concern, in that they landed deeper into Israel than most others. One of them hit a greenhouse in Moshav Shuvah, just before the workers were about to show up. Shuvah, near Kfar Maimon and five kilometers west of Netivot, is over six kilometers (four miles) from Gaza - about twice the distance from Gaza to Sderot.

This was apparently only the second time Shuvah has been hit by Kassams. A wave of rockets hit the town last December, sending two women into shock and damaging a home.

In the meanwhile, five Sderot residents continue their five-day-old hunger-strike. They began it Sunday night outside the home of Sderot resident and former mayor Defense Minister Amir Peretz, in the midst of a wave of more than 100 rockets at the area over a four-day period. Two of them fainted yesterday when a Kassam rocket exploded nearby [see photo].

The strikers plan to remain at the site over the Sabbath.

The Yisrael Beiteinu party held a special faction meeting at the Sderot hunger-strike tent outside Peretz's home this morning. "A government that cannot provide security for its citizens is not worthy of ruling," said party leader MK Avigdor Lieberman. He called on the Knesset to hold a session in the besieged city, and said that Israel should declare that its next targets are the homes of Hamas leaders.

Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal, who visited the strikers today and other times this week, called on the government to resign. Knesset Members of various parties have visited the strikers, as has Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and former residents of Gush Katif now living temporarily in Amatzia.

The children of Sderot have not been to school all week, and the parents are now attempting to arrange funding for summer camp programs outside the city. The government has promised two million shekels for this purpose. Batya Katar, chairperson of the parents organization, says this will not be enough for transportation or counselors.