Palestinian gunmen fired Saturday evening a Qassam rocket from the northern Gaza Strip toward Israeli territory. The rocket directly hit a house in Sderot. Magen David Adom teams are treating two people wounded by shrapnel and seven others suffering from shock. The rocket landed after the Red Dawn alert system was activated.
A few hours after this initial attack, another Qassam rocket was fired by Palestinian gunmen in the northern Gaza Strip. The rocket landed next to the city of Sderot, but the explosion was heard throughout the city. No one was injured.
The Sderot Municipality issued the following statement after the strike: "In wake of the Qassam attack this evening, Mayor Eli Moyal and the municipality's management decided not to comment on the severity of the strike, and will leave this to the prime minister and defense minister, who claim that the Qassam firing leads to whining."
Thursday Palestinian gunmen launched a Qassam rocket from the northern Gaza Strip. The police reported that the rocket landed in an open area west of Sderot. There were no injuries and no damage was caused. The alert system in the city did not identify the launching of the rocket, but residents of Sderot reported hearing the explosion loud and clear.
Qassam rocket directly hit house Saturday (Photo: Amir Cohen)
Two days earlier, the residents of Sderot were once again awoken by the sound of the Red Dawn system following two loud explosions that were heard in the city and throughout the entire area. In this incident, two Qassam rockets were fired from the northern Gaza Strip.
In the center of the city, a woman soldier was lightly to moderately injured by shrapnel in her leg. A few others suffered from shock. The second rocket landed in the yard of a private house. Fortunately, no one was injured by the second rocket, even though the house is located not far from a central meeting place in which many people were located at the time of the explosion.
The same day, Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter said during a cabinet meeting, "The State of Israel has woken up every day for nearly two months with a 'Good morning, Qassam,' in the Negev. We aren't providing a proper response the residents of Sderot and communities surrounding Gaza. The response of the defense establishment is not befitting of the threat and there needs to be a stronger hand."
In response to a question from one of the ministers on Dichter's recommendation on the issue, the internal security minister answered, "We don't need to conquer Gaza, but operations that will create deterrence against the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are required. We must hit where is needed and to charge a price. The government needs to reconsider all of its policies toward Gaza following the continuation of the Qassam attacks."
Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal said to Ynet following Dichter's statements, "Such a government has no moral basis to continue ruling after such dramatic statements. A state that demands us to be law-abiding citizens cannot demand us 'die because we have no solution for you.'"
The sentiment in Sderot, told Moyal, is that the government gave answers and reinforcements to the northern residents and allocated generous budgets to this cause, but to the Qassam-struck city, the state has thrown in the towel. "There is a solution, just as they demolished Beirut in order to defend the north. I am not telling the army what they need to do, but don't leave us the decision about our fate," he said.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz responded to Dichter's claims during the cabinet meeting: "It doesn't matter how many Qassams have been fired and which organization shot them – one Qassam is the same as dozens. Our response will be unequivocal and harsh to every firing. We are continuing to examine additional operations."
Peretz added that the IDF is preparing a series of operations in the Gaza Strip against the trajectory of the fire, including warehouses in which weaponry is stored.
Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said after Dichter's statements, "The firing of even one Qassam is unacceptable to us." Halutz pointed an implied finger at the political echelons as someone who can "made decisions of a different kind." According to him, there is an assessment in the defense establishment as to the preferable paths of action.