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Dozens of Soldiers Injured in Pre-Dawn Rocket Attack

At least 65 IDF soldiers were injured in a pre-dawn rocket attack by enemy forces in Gaza. Two of the injured suffered serious-to-critical wounds.
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
First Publish: 9/11/2007, 8:28 AM

At least 65 IDF soldiers were injured in a pre-dawn rocket attack by enemy forces on a military base half a mile north of Gaza. Approximately 10 of the wounded were hit with shrapnel and more than 50 others were treated for shock. Two of the injured suffered serious-to-critical wounds.

Shortly after 2:00 a.m.Tuesday, one of two Kassam rockets fired by Palestinian Authority attackers in
Two dozen ambulances were immediately rushed to the scene.
Gaza slammed into the Zikim army base. The rocket struck in the vicinity of tents in which many soldiers were sleeping. Two dozen ambulances were immediately rushed to the scene to handle the high number of expected casualties. Most of the wounded were treated at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, which transferred the two soldiers with serious and critical injuries to the Tel HaShomer Hospital in Tel Aviv by helicopter. 

Among the wounded were those suffering shrapnel injuries in the jaw, stomach, head and limbs. A soldier in critical condition has shrapnel wounds to the head. At least 26 soldiers had been treated and released by 9:00 a.m. Tuesday.

Voice of Israel government radio noted that the PA rocket landed a mere few feet from the soldiers' tents. A direct hit would have been far more fatal and destructive, broadcasters noted. Most of the wounded were new recruits who had not been provided with reinforced sleeping quarters. 

A similar incident two years ago prompted the army to reinforce parts of the Zikim base to safely absorb Kassam rocket attacks following a protest by parents after the December 2005 PA attack on the base. The army responded by bringing in concrete barriers and distancing the infirmary from Gaza.

The Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committees terrorist organizations claimed responsibility for the Tuesday morning attack. In response, the IDF said that it targeted a rocket launching cell in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza. Arab sources claimed that a woman and her daughter were wounded.

Attacks Continue, Kibbutz Struck
PA terrorists continued to attack Israel later in the day. A Kassam rocket exploded in a kibbutz near Sderot on Tuesday morning, but did not cause damage or injuries. The name of the kibbutz was not immediately disclosed for security reasons.

Avi Kadosh, administrator of the Negev kibbutz where the Kassam fell, said that his
The IDF said that it targeted a rocket launching cell.
community has suffered hundreds of rocket attacks since the outbreak of the Oslo War in 2000.

"Where is the IDF?" Kadosh asked on Voice of Israel radio. He charged the government with "knowing how to explain, but not how to act." The kibbutz official said if the IDF does not know how to react to the attacks, then the government should at least provide protection for residents. "We feel detached from the rest of the country," added Kadosh.

A subsequent Tuesday morning rocket attack also struck the Negev city of Sderot. Although the PA rocket landed within city limits, there were no injuries or property damage reported.