Rocket damages beyond casualties and property: The fires sparked when rockets hit open areas in the north have scorched large forested areas, and according to the Jewish National Fund, it will take 60 years for the forests to regenerate. Altogether, in the 29 days of fighting, some 750,000 trees have burned, including oak, pine, pistachio and others. Direct damage stood at no less than NIS 36 million.
On Wednesday a number rockets landed in open areas in the Golan Heights, which sparked additional blazes. Since the beginning of the fighting, Jewish National Fund fire fighting crews were called to extinguish over 600 fires in the north. Along the Naftali Mountains, about 7,500 dunams burned, which constitute over 75 percent of the areas forested land. In the Biria and Beit Keshet Forests over 2,000 dunams of forests were destroyed. JNF donors have already donated USD 5 million to deal with the problem.
Fire in Birya forest (Photo: JNF archive)
By the afternoon hours Wednesday over 160 rockets landed in the Norht. Sixty-six rockets landed in the area of Kiryat Shmona and 33 landed in Nahariya. Damages were caused to buildings. Eight long-range rockets were fired at Israel, six of which hit the Gilboa Mountains and the Beit Shean Valley area. A Khaiber-1 missile landed in Haifa, and another landed in the West Bank.
In addition, eight rockets landed in Safed, and one person suffered shrapnel wounds, three suffered shock, and a number of buildings were damaged. Eighteen rockets landed in open areas around Ma'alot.
In the afternoon hours Hizbullah tried for the second time to launch a rocket towards Hadera, however without success. The missile was fired toward the Zichron Yaakov and Hadera area but exploded over Haifa and landed without causing damages. Two people suffered shock.
Larger missiles - worse damage
Police Superintendent of the Northern District Dan Ronen confirmed that it was a 302-mm rocket with an over 100-km (roughly 60 miles) range. "A hit by such a rocket could be very severe," Ronen said. "For the sake of comparison, the missiles that landed up until now in Haifa were 220-mm and contained 16-kg of explosives. The same rockets caused lethal damage, so the larger missiles could cause even worse damages."
Four more long-range rockets were fired around 11:00 a.m. to the Beit Shean area. The rockets landed between Afula and Beit Shean. No casualties were reported.
Simultaneously, Palestinian sources in Jenin reported that five Hizbullah rockets fired at Afula hit Palestinian territories. No casualties were reported.
Shortly after a barrage was fired towards the Beit Shean Valley , the Israeli Air Force struck rocket launchers northeast of Tyre. The rockets were Syrian made and can reach a range of 75 km (about 47 miles), although those the hit the north had been upgraded and could reach a range of 100 km (about 60 miles) and carried 80-90 kg (about 40 lbs.) of explosives.
Sharon Roffe-Ofir, Hagai Einav and Moran Zelikovich contributed to the report