Eight more communities in the greater Ashkelon area were also made part of the Color Red alert system, the northern-most being Kfar Silver.
Following Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s decision to connect Ashkelon and its vicinity to the Color Red alert system, its spectrum will now include Kfar Silver, Berchya, Bat-Hadar, Beit Shikma, Mavki'im, Talmei Yafeh, Gaya and Mishan.
The Home Front Command also passed out flyers to residents of these communities, instructing them how to act during a Color Red alert and how to find the room in their homes that is most secure and best equipped to weather a rocket attack.
The Home Front Command now believes that Palestinians terror groups have rockets that can reach Ashkelon and even areas further north, and thus decided to add these communities to the Color Red system.
“This was a promotion meant to protect citizens and save lives in the event of rocket attacks, and address residents’ security needs. It does not mean that such attacks will now necessarily escalate,” noted the HFC in a statement.
The HFC further noted that in the event of rocket attacks, residents need not take cover in bomb shelters if they have secured room in their homes. Residents who are outdoors during an attack can take cover in bomb shelters until the threat passes. More sirens were also installed in the Ashkelon area so that residents can better hear the Color Red alerts.
Ynet has received numerous complaints from Ashkelon residents who did not hear the Color Red sirens in their Ashkelon neighborhoods. Ron Rabinowitz, an Ashkelon resident, reported that he did not hear the alarms going off, even though he lives in a central neighborhood in Ashkelon next to Brazilai Medical center.
“My mother called a municipal hotline ion order to determine why shoe could not hear the Color Red alerts. People on one end of the city can hear the sirens, while other cannot. This is a very unfortunate situation, because I want to be ready for anything that might happen,” said Rabinowitz.
The Ministry of Health decided Saturday to open a counseling center in Ashkelon Sunday. The center will employ social workers and psychologists that can aid victims of shock, eliminating the need to treat them in city hospitals. Similar centers also operate in Sderot.
The “Yadid” foundation has announced it will make its services to the area's aid residents Sunday, at 1-700-500-313.
Meital Yasur-Beit Or and Yael Branovsky contributed to this report