Grad Rocket Attack on Ashkelon

The residents of Ashkelon awoke to the scream of the Color Red siren Tuesday morning. Seconds later, a Grad missile struck.

Hana Levi Julian, | updated: 11:11

Rushing a wounded victim to hospital
Rushing a wounded victim to hospital
Israel News Photo: Flash 90

Not for the first time since the "ceasefire" with Hamas terrorists went into effect two weeks ago, Western Negev residents awoke at around 7:00 a.m. to the wail of the Color Red alert siren as another attack was launched from the region.

Within seconds, a long-range Grad-type Katyusha rocket slammed into a residential center in the center of Ashkelon, landing between a group of buildings. Ashkelon is the 13th largest city in the country.

One woman was lightly injured in the attack, and three others suffered severe emotional trauma. They were evacuated to Barzilai Medical Center in the city.

According to an eye-witness, "the entire back part of the bus," referring to a line #5 bus in the city, was damaged by the blast just after setting out from the Central Bus Station. Several cars in the area were also damaged, and windows in nearby buildings were shattered. 

Initial reports that classes were cancelled for the morning in the city's schools were denied by Mayor Shlomo Cohen, who said city officials would meet during the morning to determine further action. He noted that there was a lot of confusion in the city due to the attack. "Although there was certainly an air raid siren to alert people, there was no prior warning [from the home front command] of an impending attack," he noted.

The Ashkelon Parents' Committee announced that they are keeping their children at home. The committee will meet Tuesday evening to determine "where we will go from here." One parent told a local radio station that the current situation was a return to the reality that was in place prior to Operation Cast Lead.

The authorities "can decide what they want, and they can open the schools and the nurseries," said the caller, "but that doesn't mean we have to send our children. A rocket falls 50 meters from a kindergarten... we are talking about the lives of our children here." A reporter for the radio station said that in effect, there would be no classes in any of the schools in the city of Ashkelon on Tuesday.

Monday evening, Gaza terrorists fired a short-range Kassam rocket sounding off the Color Red siren in the Sha'ar HaNegev region and in the Gaza Belt town of Sderot. The missile hit a kibbutz in the Sha'ar HaNegev region, but caused no damage. No one was injured in the attack.

"We didn't finish the job," complained a listener bitterly on the local Radio Darom. "We didn't finish the job because of the elections, and this is the result. Motivation among the troops and the people was very high, we could have done it, but it didn't get done. And we still have attacks."