Sderot Under Kassam Attack

The Negev is under fire, with some 20 rockets launched against Israel by Wednesday morning. Several people were hurt.

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Ezra HaLevi,

Western Negev residents came under attack from eighteen Kassam rockets fired by Gaza terrorists Wednesday morning. Three people were lightly wounded, one by shrapnel. Several were treated for shock.

Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal responded to the situation by announcing his resignation on a live radio interview.  "I don't want to be around when a rocket hits a kindergarten and kills 20 children," he lamented. "I have been losing sleep over such a scenario for years."

Most of the rockets landed in open fields, but at least two landed in central Sderot, with one hitting a car. Another rocket struck Kibbutz Miflasim. Two women were treated for shock at the scene.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday that he plans on eliminating the threat of rockets from Gaza. “The situation in the south, the Kassam rocket fire, has generated a difficult reality," Olmert said while addressing the Institute for National Security Studies Tuesday. "We will have to act in the necessary manner to face this challenge, but with the appropriate dosage and the correct timing, without exaggeration or the creation of unrealistic expectations,” Olmert qualified. “We will not rest until the Kassam rocket threat is completely removed from Sderot and the western Negev."

The security cabinet met Wednesday to discuss a large scale IDF operation into Gaza to remove the Kasssam threat. The cabinet decided to suffice with the small-scale IDF operation currently underway in southern Gaza.

Two Kassam rockets landed on the outskirts of Sderot Tuesday evening as residents lit their Chanukah menorahs. Military intelligence estimates that it will not be long until cities such as Kiryat Gat will come under daily rocket fire from Gaza, placing a quarter-million residents under attack.

The government has issued several high-profile statements sanctioning the cutting of power and supplies to Gaza in response to attacks, but little has been implemented. It was widely believed that a large-scale operation in Gaza was being put off until after the Annapolis Conference.

IDF in Southern and Northern Gaza
“During the past 24 hours, IDF forces, with the assistance of the Air Force and in coordination with the ISA, have been operating against terrorist infrastructures in the southern and northern Gaza Strip,” read an IDF statement. “The forces operated in order to distance the terrorist organizations—particularly Hamas—from the security fence and in order to prevent Kassam rocket and mortar shell fire into Israel. During the activity, the IDF identified hitting approximately 10 gunmen.”

In southern Gaza, pitched battles took place between IDF forces and Hamas armed and trained guerilla cells. The terrorists used anti-tank rockets and succeeded in setting one IDF tank ablaze.

The IDF has cut Gaza in half, according to PA reports, with tanks blocking the main road leading from Khan Yunis to Rafiach.

The main road is called Tancher Road by the IDF and Salah-a-Din Road by Gaza’s Arabs.