Sderot: Man severely hurt by Qassam
Four Qassam rockets land in south Tuesday morning. One rocket hits factory; worker sustains critical wounds, another worker lightly injured. Fire breaks out in area, workers evacuated. Another rocket hits house; building suffers damage. UN high commissioner for human rights visits place shortly after attack, but workers order her to leave
A worker at a Sderot factory was critically injured Tuesday morning and another worker was lightly wounded after a Qassam rocket directly hit the factory. A fire broke out in the place, which was severely damaged. Three people suffered from shock.
Another rocket hit a house in the southern town, causing damage. Two rockets landed in open areas.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour visited the place shortly after the rocket attack, but was ordered to leave by the factory workers.
Shimon Turjeman, a friend of the injured employee, told Ynet: "I was standing about 20 meters (65.6 feet) away from the worker who was critically injured. Suddenly we heard a loud explosion. I ran to the place and saw my friend lying on the floor bleeding."
Many residents reported of burns in their eyes and heavy smoke which made it difficult to breath.
Yehuda Sasson, manager of Magen David Adom rescue services in the Negev district, reported that the fire in the factory broke out
Paramedic Gadi Abu Hatzira said: "The Qassam landed in a storeroom of hazardous materials, not far from the ammonia containers. We evacuated a 40-year-old man with a head injury to the Soroka hospital."
Workers said that it was difficult to hear the Red Color alert system in the industrial zone, and that they have warned of the issue in the past.
Yigal Zohar, operations officer of the Ashkelon firefighters, said: "The factory suffered a direct hit. Quite a big fire broke out and five fire engines are operation in the area."
An eyewitness told Ynet: "We heard the Color Red (alert system) and then an explosion was heard. The entire factory was shaking. They told us to immediately enter the fortified rooms. One of the workers in our factory was hurt in his head. They asked us to get away from the place, because there are hazardous materials here. There is a lot of panic here."
The factory has several containers with hazardous materials. Police forces and firefighter asked residents to stay away from the factory for fear the materials will catch fire.
UN commissioner expelled
The rockets hit Sderot exactly when UN Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour visited the city under heavy security, accompanied by Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal.
The two arrived at the factory hit by a rocket, and a riot broke out in the area. Workers hit the United Nations vehicle, claiming the organization is one-sided.
Arbour told the residents that she had arrived to see what was happening in the area and to listen to the residents' impressions and feelings.
She was interrupted and removed from the area by the police.
The factory's operations manager, Meir Cohen, told her: "I have been working here for 10 years now and we want the entire world to know what is happening here in Sderot. Rockets continue to land here, we have been suffering for years like this and no one is waking up. It's about time you do something."
Factory hit by rocket (Photo: Reei Tal Braunstein)
One of the factory workers referred to the commissioner's visit, saying: "I think the visit by the UN people today is a disgrace. The UN people obviously don’t care about us; they came here because of the Palestinians. What they will eventually see from here is the Palestinians' side."
More than 12 rockets landed in Israel on Monday, most of them in open areas, while UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour was visiting Sderot.
A rocket landed Monday evening in one of the kibbutzim of the Eshkol regional council in the western Negev. The rocket directly hit an office building in the kibbutz, at the same time when many of the community's members were making their way to the dining hall nearby.
One person was at the office building when the rocket struck, but escaped unharmed owing to the strength of the structure. Some damage to property was caused.
Monday's attack marks the first time a Qassam lands inside the kibbutz, after several rockets have already landed in cultivated areas outside the community.
Galia Kremmer, one of the kibbutz members, told Ynet: "We heard a whistle and a very loud explosion, many people began running and others came out of their houses. It was very frightening and the noise was very loud."