Kassam rocket scene
Kassam rocket sceneFile photo

Roni Yihye, 47, a father of four, is the man who was killed by a Kassam rocket in Sapir College Wednesday. He was from Moshav Bitcha, a moshav (agricultural community) located near Ofakim.

Yihye was mortally wounded when a rocket landed near him in the Sapir College parking lot.  He died of his wounds shortly afterwards.  A second man was wounded in the attack.

Yihye underwent a kidney transplant several years ago, after he quit working as a cement truck driver due to a kidney ailment. A neighbor told Maariv/NRG that Yihye was attending a course given by the National Insurance Institute in Sapir College when the rocket struck next to him.

Avner Mori, who heads the Mechavim Regional Council, said that Yihye was "a quiet and modest person whom I saw at the synagogue every morning. This is a sad day for the moshav and the regional council. We will do everything to aid the bereaved family."

The Sapir College management expressed its condolences to Yihye's family and wished the people hurt in the attack a speedy recovery.

15 people were hospitalized at Ashkelon's Barzilai hospital following a large scale Kassam attack launched by Hamas terrorists in Gaza. One rocket landed near the Carlsberg beer factory and hit a power line. This, in turn, caused intermittent local blackouts.

All in all, Gaza terrorists' violence against civilians hurt 49 people today: two suffered light injuries and 47 others suffered emotional shock.

Israel was bombarded with close to 30 rockets between 3:00 and 4:30 PM, and another four hit the Ashkelon area around 6 PM.  One of the latter landed in an open area just outside Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, north of Gaza, and several people were treated for shock.  Electricity in parts of the city was knocked out for short periods by the rockets.

At least one other person was hurt by shrapnel in the attack on Sapir College. A total of 15 Sderot residents were treated in Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital for shock, including five for serious trauma.

In the midst of the Kassam bombardment, the Israel Air Force announced that it had successfully hit a rocket-launching cell. PA sources report that in a second Israeli attack in Gaza City, one person was killed.

In the last Kassam rocket wave, three rockets slammed into a college in the Sderot area. The young student is the 12th death caused by Kassams in Israel, following the killing of three Israelis in Sderot - Shir'el Friedman, Chai Shalom, and Oshri Oz - in the space of one week last May.

Hamas Proud of its Success

The attacks follow a successful Israel Air Force counter-terrorism attack on a bus carrying Hamas terrorists in Gaza this morning; five terrorist trainers, including a leading Hamas terrorist, were killed and several were injured. Hamas took credit for firing 16 Kassams at Israel this afternoon.  It broadcast photos from Sderot, boasting that the scenes were reminiscent of a terror attack and saying that this was the answer to those in the Palestinian Authority who felt that the Kassams were unnecessary.

The rocket bombardment began with three waves of attacks at 3 PM, when the "Color Red" rocket warning alert was sounded in Sderot and environs.  Eleven rockets were fired, one of which slammed into a chicken processing plant in Sderot, and others fell in the vicinity of the town.  Though the rocket slammed into the factory's dining room, causing very heavy damage - dozens of workers had left the dining room shortly before the rocket hit - no one was directly hurt by shrapnel.  Several victims were treated for shock.

This is at least the third time the poultry plant has been hit by a Kassam rocket.  In November 2006, Yaakov Yaakobov was killed when a rocket hit the factory, and last month, a fire was started when a Kassam hit the plant.

Around 3:30 PM, yet another Kassam rocket was fired at Israel, landing in the Eshkol region of the western Negev. No casualties or damage were reported.

In two other waves of attacks by 4:30, another ten rockets were fired at Israel, slamming into Sderot, S'dot Negev, and adjoining areas.  A house in Sderot suffered a direct hit, with no reported injuries.

Earlier in the day, two Kassams were fired at the western Negev, causing no damage.