Gaza terrorists launched a mortar attack on children and their parents in southern Israel Wednesday, just hours before the start of Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year.
One mortar exploded close to several kindergarten buildings in a Negev kibbutz, just half an hour before the children were set to arrive.
No one was wounded in the attack, which occurred in the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council district, but at least one of the buildings was damaged.
Miraculously, the shell landed between two of the buildings, according to one of the residents, who noted that things “could have ended very differently.”
The school building that was damaged by the explosion had a fortified roof – but no other part of the building is protected. Area officials have been discussing the issue with security personnel, asking for total reinforcement of the community's public buildings.
Yenina, one of the mothers who brought her son to school not long after the attack explained, “We are continuing as usual – we have no other choice. It's a holiday today. People's faces look a lot less happy today, but the buildings are protected and parents are bringing their children to school.
“We heard the explosion – to our great sorry, it was a mortar, which doesn't activate the Color Red system, the way a Kassam rocket does. So actually, it was the explosion that told us there had been an attack.
“This is the most frightening aspect of the situation, although in actuality, rockets can land anywhere. What's important to note is that it is not quiet here. Almost every day a mortar or Kassam rocket lands. It happens all the time.”
Overnight, the western Negev was also struck by a Kassam rocket attack launched by terrorists. Those residents of Sderot and the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council district who were not cooking and otherwise preparing for the holiday, were rudely awakened by the scream of the Color Red air raid siren at about 2:00 a.m. Within 15 seconds, at least one rocket exploded in the area, but did not cause damage, and no one was wounded in the attack.
Local residents told Israel National News that attacks from Gaza have sharply escalated following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's trip to Washington D.C. for direct talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah Leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Home Front Command recommended Wednesday that kindergartens in the region be kept open in order to provide a safe indoor facility in which children can play for hours leading up to the holiday, which begins at sunset.
Judea, Samaria Crossings Closed
In other security news, the security crossings from Judea and Samaria were closed overnight for the duration of the Rosh HaShanah New Year's holiday.
Although the holiday does not begin until sunset Wednesday, the crossings closed one minute prior to midnight Tuesday night, September 7, and will not reopen until September 11, one minute prior to midnight late Saturday night.
Per standard practice, persons in need of medical attention, will be allowed to pass through. The passage of humanitarian aid, as well as doctors, medical personnel, NGO members, attorneys and additional professionals will be coordinated by the Civil Administration.
“Additionally, special accommodations were made in light of the Muslim holiday of Eid ul-Fitr for the purpose of family visitations,” the IDF Spokesperson said in a statement.
Journalists have been warned by the IDF Spokesperson, who coordinates all statements with the Government Press Office (GPO), to prepare passports and visas as well as standard press credentials to pass through the crossings, in much the same way as one would for travel to a different country.
“In order to pass, media personnel with Israeli or dual citizenship are required to sign release forms prior to visiting the A areas and are encouraged to coordinate their passage in advance with the IDF Spokesperson's News Desk,” the statement said.