Qassam rockets hit Sderot, Ashkelon
Rocket attacks continue Thursday evening. Two rockets fired at southern Ashkelon, one lands near strategic facility. Three rockets fired at Sderot; no injuries reported but fire breaks out in two buildings. At least 23 rockets fired at southern Israel since Thursday morning
Five Qassam rockets landed Thursday evening in Sderot and in southern Ashkelon, near a staretgic facility. There were no reports of injuries, but one of the rockets hit a factory in Sderot and caused a fire to break out. Fire fighters reported that two buildings were damaged.
At least 23 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip since Thursday morning, and more than 85 rockets were launched since the start of the current conflict. Two Qassams landed in Sderot at around midnight, one of them hitting a synagogue.
In spite of the rocket barrages, most Sderot residents remained in the city. According to unofficial estimates, between 2,500 to 3,000 people (out of 23,000 residents) have left the southern town so far.
Most of those who left were aided by billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak, about 800 were helped by the Defense Ministry and the Sderot Municipality, and the rest left on their own.
In a bid to return life to normal, the Sderot Municipality announced that classes in the city would be resumed on Friday.
Residents who remained in the city expressed their anger over the conduct of the municipality and the government. Dozens of residents even stormed the office of Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal.
Factories in Sderot have been hit by rockets in the past. The Israel Manufacturers Association reported Thursday that 90 percent of the factories in Sderot and in the Gaza vicinity were unfortified.
The Association's director-general, Yehuda Segev, stated that the lives of 5,000 workers in 40 unfortified factories were at risk. He accused the government of failing to invest $50 million in the fortification.
On Thursday morning, a high school in the Negev was directly hit by a Qassam rocket. Two people were lightly wounded in the attack, and several others suffered from shock.
The rocket landed on an unfortified classroom, which was empty at the time. Students who were at the school were ordered to remain in the fortified classrooms.
Residents want answers
Angry Sderot residents told their mayor, "We want to leave, but no one is telling us when, where, or how to get out, and all of a sudden the busses are filled.
"We think," said the residents, "that many people who are not even Sderot residents left to those hotels and resorts. We want answers, and don't tell us anymore tales."
Residents' shouts inside and outside of the mayor's office went on for several minutes, and police officers were called to the try and calm the situation, with little success.
"We are all in turmoil. I have agreed to sit with their representatives and hear their claims, and then I will be able to respond to them," said Moyal.
The mayor also described the dire condition the city's bomb shelters were in, saying that many of them lack electricity, water, air-conditioning and flooring.
According to Moyal, detailed plans for the shelters' renovation were presented to the relevant bodies over a year ago, but have remained unanswered. Despite the difficult situation, Moyal said that he would not criticize the government or its conduct at this time.