Photo: Niv Calderon
Rocket's landing site in northern community
Photo: Niv Calderon
Photo: Uriel Hershko
Peres: Updates US
Photo: Uriel Hershko
Rockets hit Akko
Photo: Avi Cohen

Heavy barrage on North: 8 wounded

Hizbullah fires over 70 rockets at northern Israeli communities. Rockets hit from Akko to Nahariya in west, throughout Tiberias to Kiryat Shmona in east. Three wounded in Safed, four in Akko and one in Kiryat Shmona; 2 of wounded suffer moderate injuries. Homes hit in Tiberias, Rosh Pina; Sirens sound in Haifa

After two days of relative quiet, in which only a handful of mortars hit the north, Hizbullah renewed heavy rocket attacks Wednesday, with over 70 rockets hitting communities in northern Israel.


In Safed two people were moderately wounded and a third person was lightly wounded. The wounded were transferred to Ziv Hospital. Four more people were lightly wounded by shrapnel in Akko, and another person was wounded in Kiryat Shmona. Property damages were incurred in Tiberias, Rosh Pina, Akko and Kiryat Shmona.


Sirens were heard in Haifa, but no rocket hits were reported yet.

Rockets hit Kiryat Shmona (Photo: Levi Eshkol)


The heaviest barrage began shortly before 10:00 a.m., when rockets landed in open areas in Carmiel and Hatzor. No casualties were reported. Moments later, three rockets his Safed and a fourth hit a home in Rosh Pina and caused damages.


Three rockets landed in Tiberias in open areas, causing three people to suffer shock and igniting a number of blazes. Five rockets hit the city of Akko, one of them damaging a house, but resulting in no injuries.

Rocket barrage on Tiberias (Photo: Shimon Elkabetz)


Eight rockets hit the Kiryat Shmona area, causing damage to industrial buildings and a number of houses. In Nahariya three rockets landed within the city limits, one of them directly hitting a home and causing a fire. No one was wounded. Simultaneously, five rockets struck open areas in the Rosh Pina area and five more hit Maalot. No casualties were reported.


The first salvo was fired at 6:00 a.m., hitting two communities in the Galilee panhandle. The rockets landed in open areas and caused no injuries or damage.


'I'm really, really scared'


One of the rockets landed on a row of parked cars in a Kiryat Shmona neighborhood. The building opposite was damaged by shrapnel, and many of its windows shattered.


The owner of the home, who wished to remain anonymous so her children who had taken refuge in Central Israel would not learn on the news their home was hit, told Ynet: “I sent my children to my sister’s house and I came back to collect some belongings. It was lucky that I went into the protected room, because seconds after I started running a shock wave shook the house and all the windows and blinds went flying.”


The woman grew silent for a moment, then collapsed. After a few minutes she revived. “No one believed it would reach us. We were optimistic. This Nasrallah reaches everywhere. Excuse me, but I have to go down to the shelter now because I’m really, really scared,” she said.


Rachel Ohana, who lives on the fourth story of one of the buildings hit in Akko, said she ran down to the bomb shelter when she heard the first alarm. After she heard two explosions, she went back up to her apartment, then returned to the shelter.


“I had a feeling something bad was going to happen, and that’s why I went down to the shelter, even though there was no siren. The second I got downstairs I heard a massive blast. The Katyusha hit the apparent on the north-facing side of fourth floor. Luckily my apartment faces south, so it wasn’t severely damaged,” she said.


“It’s a miracle. I felt something was about to happen and as soon as I reached the shelter, it really did,” Rachel said.


Rocket capabilities reduced


Vice Premier Shimon Peres said Wednesday morning during a pressing briefing in Washington that Israel had destroyed over 70 percent of Hizbullah’s long-range and mid-range rockets, and 20 percent of their short-range rockets.


The press conference followed a meeting between Peres and White House National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, during which the vice premiere updated the US on the 22 days of fighting in Lebanon.


The IDF destroyed some 1,000 buildings which served Hizbullah as headquarters, communications centers and war rooms. Likewise, the IDF killed over 250 Hizbullah operatives, including regional commanders, Peres said.


Mortars hit north Tuesday


Althought the day was relatively calm, Tuesday night four Katyusha rockets landed in two communities near the town of Shlomi, one hitting near a local kindergarten, causing damage.


At the same time, mortar shells were fired at other communities in the western sector of the northern border, apparently aimed against IDF forces amidst preparations for the ground incursion into Lebanon.


Army officials estimated Tuesday noon that the rocket attacks will be renewed on Wednesday, and residents of the border area communities have accordingly been advised to remain in shelters and protected areas during the day. Residents of Haifa and the Krayot area are asked to stay in proximity to protected areas.


Throughout the night and early morning hours, artillery blasts were heard across the northern region, as the IDF resumed its aerial activity over Lebanon, in addition to the ground and artillery strikes. On the morning of the 22nd day of the fighting, most of the businesses in the north remain closed and residents await another tense day of clashes and attacks.


Hagai Einav, Miri Chason, Sharon Roffe-Ophir and Ahiya Raved contributed to the report.


פרסום ראשון: 08.02.06, 08:14
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