Two Qassam rockets were fired toward Sderot Saturday night just as the Simchat Torah celebration (Hakafot) in the city was winding down.
Both rockets landed in an open field, and no injuries were reported among the 1,000 residents who attended the event, which was held despite concerns over the increase in rocket attacks on the western Negev area in recent days.
“We were quit fearful (ahead of the event),” Mayor Eli Moyal said after the residents dispersed to their homes following the attack. “But this rocket fire will not deter us.”
Mayor Moyal addresses holiday crowd (Photo: Albert Sadikov)
During the Simchat Torah rally Moyal said, “We are not afraid of the Qassams; they will not break us and we will continue to celebrate.”
The security establishment promised Moyal that the IDF would prevent the firing of Qassams during the celebrations, and IDF helicopters could be seen flying over Gaza.
However, the tightened security irked some of the residents.
“This only proves that if the army wants to it can prevent the rocket attacks,” one resident said. “Why should this activity not be carried out all the time?”
Other residents said they did not bring their children to the Simchat Torah rally for fear of rocket attacks.
“I sent my girls to Netivot, where they are also celebrating the holiday but it’s safer,” a Sderot resident said. “We attended the Hakafot, and when we arrived at our home we heard of the rocket attack; it’s getting more and more frightening.”