Photo: Uri Yaari
Qassam rocket (Archive photo)
Photo: Uri Yaari
Photo: AP
Operation 'Blue Skies' (Archive photo)
Photo: AP

Qassams 'miss' gas station again

Two rockets land on Road 34, not far from nearby gas station; another five land in Kibbutz Zikim area; no injuries reported in all incidents; Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for the Qassam fire

Two Qassam rockets landed Wednesday afternoon near the southern town of Sderot. Municipality officials said the Red Dawn alert system identified the rockets' launch.


Frightened residents heard the explosions, but there were no reports of injuries or damage.


According to initial estimations, the two rockets landed on Road 34, not far from a gas station in the area. Police forces were trying to

locate the exact landing site.


The Red Dawn alert system identified another five rockets launched from the northern Gaza Strip. It appears that several landed in an open filed in the Zikim area, south of Ashkelon, despite recent IDF action to prevent Qassam fire.


Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for the Qassam fire. The two groups said they would continue with rocket fire. 


In response, the IDF fired artillery rounds at open fields in the northern Gaza Strip.


'If firing continues, we'll close schools in Sderot'


Sderot mayor Eli Moyal announced City Hall will consider closing all schools Thursday.


"We will wait the night and if the fire continues we will inform the parents in the morning that the schools will not operate in Sderot," he said. "We will tell the parents that the government is not prepared to concern themselves with the children of Sderot…we have not been left a choice but to shut down the system."


Moyal added that he is still waiting for the defense establishment or government ministers to "be so kind as to call and explain the situation. I am wondering if it is connected to my candidacy in the wrong political party."  


Waiting for a fire engine


The landing of the rockets close to a gas station raises the fear once again that local firemen would not be able to contain a large-scale fire should one of the stations be hit.


Sderot City Hall Spokesman Yossi Pinhas Cohen told Ynet that the fire engine they had managed to purchase through international donations had not yet arrived.


"Furthermore, fire department representatives have ridiculed an order by the defense minister, which commanded the transfer of the fire engine to Sderot. Despite the order, they have not yet sent it."


"We would not manage to control the fire. I would like the commissioner of the fire department to explain to us why they are not transferring the fire engine, even though we raised 80,000 Euro," he said.


Magen David Adom said two rescue teams were sent to the site even though the government has not yet transferred financial assistance valued at NIS 1 million, as previously promised.


"Magen David Adom's CEO is operating out of a responsibility for the lives of the residents, out of an understanding of the importance of the crucial service and hope that the government will act responsibly and transfer the funds promised to us," a spokesman said.


'Major disaster averted'


Meanwhile, three Qassam rockets were fired toward the Sderot area Tuesday night, and one of them also exploded near a gas station in the town's industrial zone. No injuries were reported in the strike.


Fortunately, only two security guards were present at the gas station at the time of Tuesday night's attack. The rocket landed on the road leading into the station and damaged the pavement.


Sderot's Deputy Police Commander Yehiel Buhadana said the Qassam landed near the station's storage tanks, which are located underground.


Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal told Ynet that "a major disaster was averted, and again luck was on our side. I don't want to think what would have happened had the rocket, God forbid, landed inside the station, blowing up fuel tanks at the site."


Tuesday night's attack followed a six-rocket barrage fired at the Sderot vicinity the previous night. Earlier Tuesday, the IDF directed artillery fire at Gaza targets in response to the Qassam attacks.


Anat Barshkovsky contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 01.04.06, 17:30
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