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Photo: Amir Cohen
Rocket casualties being evacuated to the Barzilai hospital
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Sderot street after attack
Photo: Albert Sadikov
Sderot: Woman killed, Peretz bodyguard loses legs
Six rockets land in Western Negev Wednesday morning. One lands in busy street, kills woman and seriously wounds one of Amir Peretz's bodyguards. Locals call on government to 'wake up'. Islamic Jihad, Hamas both claim responsibility
Six rockets were fired from the northern Gaza Strip at the Western Negev Wednesday morning, and two of them landed in the town of Sderot.

 

One of the rockets hit a busy street in town, killing 57 year old Fatima Slotzker and seriously wounding a 24 year old man, one of Defense Minister Amir Peretz's bodyguards who was on duty at the time. Peretz resides near the street where the rocket landed. Six others suffered from shock. Magen David Adom ambulance crews evacuated the casualties to the Barzilai hospital in Ashkelon. 

 

The bodyguard lost both his legs from shrapnel and is currently still in surgery. Achlama Peretz, Defense Minister Amir Peretz's wife, phoned his family to offer any help she could provide.

  

The other rockets landed in open fields in the Western Negev and caused no injuries or damage.

 

Shortly after the initial incident Palestinian gunmen in the northern Gaza Strip fired another rocket at the town of Sderot. Security forces are searching for the location of the rocket. There is no report of injuries or damage.  

 

'Ongoing Revenge'

The al-Quds Brigades, the military arm of the Islamic Jihad terror organization, took responsibility for the rocket firing at Sderot.

 

The organization's announcement said that "organization fighters fired two sophisticated Quds rockets at a mid-range." The organization reported that its members returned to their bases in peace and that the firing was carried out in the framework of the "ongoing revenge for the occupation's massacre in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank."

 

Izz al-Din al-Qassam, the military arm of Hamas, also claimed responsibility for the rocket firing at Sderot.


Zaka personnel in Sderot (Photo: Avi Rokach)

 

The organization's announcement said, "The organization's fighters carried out the firing of the two sophisticated rockets." It was reported that "the firing is part of the continued firing by the organization's fighters as an initial response to the massacre and crimes of the Israeli occupation." 

 

Sources in the IDF said that the Qassam rockets launched at Sderot were fired from the area of the cemetery next to Beit Hanoun. The sources mentioned that a large-scale operation of Qassam launching is taking place on the site.

  

The sources reported that in the past two weeks, the extent of Qassam rockets fired into Israel has increased and that some 30 rockets have landed in Palestinian territory.

 

'Open area? That's my house.'

Despite the pouring rain outside many residents assembled near the impact site to protest the government's inaction. Liat Dori, a resident of the neighborhood told Ynet: "It's exactly when the kids are on their way to school, the warning sirens didn't stop for over half an hour. One of the rockets fell right next to my house, they call it an 'open area' but it's not an open area, it's my house."

 

Effie Cohen was just heading out to the local market when the rocket hit: "I saw the two wounded people lying there, it was just horrible."

 

Police District Chief Maj. Gen. Uri Bar-Lev says that the despite the heavy toll the rockets in question are the exact same type as those recently fired at the town. "We live under a never-ending threat of Qassams," he says, "this type of rockets are part of the Palestinians effort to improve their capabilities."

 

One of the local residents recalled: "It was a very difficult scene to witness. There was a lot of commotion, a lot of shouting, there were children passing through the area on their way to school who started screaming. This is one of our hardest days here in Sderot. Someone really needs to wake up."

 

A deep panic gripped the town and many parents rushed to the schools to bring their children home. Some hadn't even bothered to send them out. Alon Davidi who heads the local campaign against the rocket attacks said: "the government has to wake up and order the continuation of the IDF's operations in Gaza against the Qassams."

 

Sources in the IDF said that the rockets launched at Sderot were fired from the area of the cemetery next to Beit Hanoun. The sources mentioned that a large-scale operation of Qassam launching is taking place on the site.

 

The sources reported that in the past two weeks, the extent of Qassam rockets fired into Israel has increased and that some 30 rockets have landed in Palestinian territory.

 

Eight other Israelis have been killed in previous rocket attacks inside Israel in recent years.

 

Meital Yasur-Beit Or, Ali Waked and Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report

 


First published: 15.11.06, 08:37
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