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Rocket Hit Synagogue, but Did Not Explode

'A miracle,' worshipers say, as rocket fails to detonate after hitting synagogue. None hurt.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 8/19/2011, 11:54 AM

Aftermath of Grad rocket attack (archive)
Aftermath of Grad rocket attack (archive)
Flash 90

Worshipers at an Ashdod synagogue say they experienced a miracle Friday morning when a rocket that hit the building failed to explode. Three people were inside praying at the time. Early reports saying they were hurt were erroneous.

The synagogue is home to a Gur chassidic congregation.

Worshipers heard a rocket alert while in the middle of the morning prayer service (Shacharit). They decided to remain in the building rather than running for cover.

Seconds later, they heard a loud noise, and the prayer hall filled with white dust. A Grad rocket had hit the building and was lodged in the synagogue floor – but had not detonated.

Worshipers noted that the attack took place shortly after regular prayer services had concluded. Had the rocket hit a few minutes earlier, it could have caused many casualties.

Police and other security personnel rushed to the scene. They were forced to demolish much of the structure in order to safely defuse the rocket.

Men learning at a nearby yeshiva heard the rocket strike and believed it was safe to leave the building. However, as they stepped outside a second rocket hit the city, slamming into ground just outside the yeshiva. Six men were wounded. One was listed in serious condition, a second in moderate condition, and four suffered light wounds.

The L'daat website gave Hebrew names for two of the wounded: Shmuel Zev ben Esther, 20, and Yitzchak Meir ben Malka Leah, 22. The public is asked to pray for their speedy recovery.