Daily Israel Report

Rockets Imminent? Train to Sderot Cancelled

Defense Ministry orders closure of Ashkelon to Sderot line over fears of anti-tank missiles as ceasefire set to end at midnight.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 8/18/2014, 8:40 AM

Binyamin Netanyahu visits the Sderot train station
Binyamin Netanyahu visits the Sderot train station
Flash 90

The Defense Ministry on Monday decided to close the train lines from Ashkelon to the rocket-beleaguered town of Sderot, ahead of the end of the five-day ceasefire extension with Hamas on Monday at midnight.

In order to deal with the impact of the train cancellation on Israeli citizens' lives, bus service between Ashkelon and Sderot has been increased, and free shuttles between the Ashkelon and Sderot train stations will be provided, according to Yedioth Aharonoth.

The decision to stop train service to Sderot until further notice, which has been hard hit by terrorist rockets during Operation Protective Edge and indeed over the last several years, was made out of fears that anti-tank missiles may be fired at the trains from areas close to the Gaza border.

It should be noted that the Egyptian truce proposal would have Israel cancel the no-entry perimeter on the Gaza side of the border, which has been in effect in an attempt to prevent such close-range targeted rocket strikes, along with terrorist infiltration.

Aside from the current decision, the Defense Ministry has demanded that the trains to Sderot be armored against anti-tank missiles; the Sderot train station has already been armored against missiles.

In response to the Defense Ministry demand, the Transportation Ministry said "the demand is being dealt with by the relevant sources."

The IDF is preparing for a resumption of rocket fire from the terrorist enclave of Gaza on Monday at midnight. Last Wednesday night when the last ceasefire was extended, Hamas fired eight rockets between the three hours before and up to an hour after the extension went into effect.

While there are indications the ceasefire may be extended yet again amid truce talks, last Thursday night 10,000 Israelis in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square demanded that Israel finish the job in Gaza, and take decisive action to end the rocket and terror tunnel attacks once and for all.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last Tuesday reportedly was "softening" ministers to accept concessions.

On Sunday, Israel made a one-sided "goodwill" gesture by lifting a ban on Gaza fishing, despite numerous infiltration attempts by sea and weapons smuggling conducted in disguised fishing boats by Gaza terrorists. Discussions about Hamas returning the bodies of Second Lt.Hadar Goldin and First Sgt. Oron Shaul hy''d would reportedly not be held until a month after any truce.