Olmert meets Sderot residents
Photo: GPO
Olmert: No immediate solution for Qassams
Qassam rockets land near prime minister's entourage as he visits west Negev communities Monday night, hours after deadly attack kills Sderot woman. As rockets fall Olmert refuses to take refuge in bomb shelter; tells residents: If you're staying, so am I
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visited Sderot Monday night, hours after a deadly rocket attack killed 32-year-old Shirel Feldman, a resident of the town.


During his visit a number of Qassams were fired from northern Gaza and landed in the immediate area, but Olmert refused to take refuge in a bomb shelter and told his hosts: "If you're staying – I'm staying too."


This is Olmert's second visit in less than a week to the western Negev town, which has suffered incessant rocket barrages in recent weeks.


The prime minister also visited the nearby kibbutz Nir-Am, just south of Sderot. Tzvi Galliani, a veteran resident, told Olmert that he'd been through some rough times living by the Gaza border, but the current situation was the worst he could recall.


Younger kibbutz-members shared their distress with the prime minister over the fact that their children weren't protected.


Olmert told the residents that plans were advancing to install protective shields on homes, but they wouldn't provide 100 percent protection.


"I understand the anger, the distress, and the frustration that I'm hearing here tonight. Therefore I instructed the government offices to lift bureaucratic obstacles so that homes and institutions in the area can be protected as soon as possible. But you know there is no immediate solution to Qassams," he said.


"I know you've been through tough times, and you won't leave this time either. We are helping and will continue to help residents try to leave for a few days break to get some air and rest."


'Solution isn't simple'

While touring Sderot, Olmert visited the Home Front Command's control center. A number of angry residents awaited him at the entry.


"I want to talk with the residents. I came even though I knew they'd yell at me," he added, after several residents called on him to resign from the government.


"Even when we were in Gaza, the solution wasn’t simple and Qassams were fired at Sderot," Olmert said.


As the prime minister ended his visit and his convoy departed to head back to Jerusalem, a rocket landed not far away.


Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal said as they left, "I didn't have much to say to him. Just now two more Qassams fell. Sderot mourns another resident tonight, killed by a direct Qassam hit.


"There is plenty of talk and visits, but the Qassams keep falling and taking a toll of blood. The bottom line is that the prime minister doesn't have answers for us," Moyal said.  


First published: 05.22.07, 02:39
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