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Chanukah Party Miracle at Kindergarten in Kibbutz Sa?ad

A Kassam rocket exploded close to a kindergarten in Kibbutz Sa’ad on Monday, ending a Chanukah party and angering residents.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 12/27/2005, 11:35 AM / Last Update: 12/26/2005, 10:16 PM

The Chanukah party was disrupted Monday afternoon when the “Red Dawn” alert system was activated, preceding the rocket explosion which landed nearby. No injuries were reported. “It was a big miracle,” said community director Sarah Evron.

The attack prompted residents to allow the media to identify the kibbutz which has silently suffered through Kassam strikes for months. Kibbutz officials have asked the government for months to fortify their schools, but they remain unprotected.

Residents were further angered by fortification work which began at a nearby IDF army base on Monday after a rocket attack last week injured five soldiers. “In our view, we must first protect children and then soldiers,” said Evron. “It feels as though soldiers who are not protected prompt fortification work but we have children growing up on the border here.”

A second rocket fell Monday afternoon south of Ashkelon.

Government officials were faced with another problem when terrorist group Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigade announced they have acquired a new, longer-range missile. The group is the military wing of the ruling Fatah party in the Palestinian Authority.

The “Grad”, officially known as BM-21, has a range of 20 kilometers and is launched from trucks at a rate of 40 rockets in six seconds. Communities at risk in the south will now include Kiryat Gat, Netivot and Ofakim. Sderot has been a constant target of Kassam rocket attacks.

Israeli security officials say they may establish a “security strip” in northern Gaza to put an end to the attacks, a plan that has been considered several times in the past. Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigade leaders say they will increase attacks in response to such a move.