Palestinians in Gaza fired two Qassam rockets toward the western Negev city of Sderot Friday night, the eve of the Simchat Torah holiday.
One person sustained moderate injuries in the attack, while two others suffered light wounds; several other people suffered from anxiety. The “Color Red” rocket alert was activated at 9:10 p.m., and loud explosions were heard throughout the city.
One rocket landed in a soccer stadium in the Neveh Eshkol neighborhood, where a game was held just a few hours prior to the attack; no injuries were reported. The second Qassam landed in the yard of a home, resulting in light injuries to three residents.
Damage done to home during Qassam attack (Photo: Amir Cohen)
Mayor Eli Moyal said that he is considering the cancellation of the Simchat Torah processions (Hakafot), which were scheduled to take place on Saturday at the city’s center.
“The IDF says it is doing all it can so there will be quiet in Sderot, but so far we are only being attacked repeatedly,” he said.
Sderot resident Kobi Ezra said, “Just after the holiday dinner we say in the living room to drink coffee when we suddenly heard a massive boom. We went outside and saw a mushroom cloud of smoke; I held my mother tight, and I saw an elderly neighbor of ours holding his ear; he was apparently hit by shrapnel. There was a lot of fear and mayhem.”
The parents of an eight-year-old boy who sustained light injuries preferred to take him home in order to calm him down rather than evacuate their son to the hospital.
Earlier on Friday Prime Minister Ehud Olmert instructed Internal Security Avi Dichter and Defense Minister Amir Peretz to beef up security in Sderot ahead of the Simchat Torah holiday processions in the city.
During the events prayers will be held in memory of Qassam attack victims and for the release and return home of the kidnapped and missing soldiers.
Meanwhile, the IDF is continuing its extensive operation in Gaza; on Friday three Hamas terrorists were killed in an IAF air strike on
their vehicle in the town of Beit Lahiya in the northern Strip.
The army said the three belonged to a cell responsible for firing Qassam rockets at Sderot on Thursday and Friday's strike prevented them from launching more rockets.
Anat Breshkovsky contributed to the report