Residents of the Gaza vicinity kibbutzim have found themselves in recent days under a shower of mortar shells, Qassam rockets and increasing fears of infiltration attacks, like the one which took place Saturday morning at the Kerem Shalom crossing.
Following the attack, which left 13 IDF soldiers injured, the residents spoke about the moments of horror but stressed that they had not plans to leave the area.
At 6 am Saturday, the inhabitants of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom woke up to the sounds of mortar shells fired at their area. The men were dispatched to the emergency squad, while the women remained in the fortified rooms with their children.
Kibbutz residents Amit and Sharon Caspi told Ynet about the moments of fire.
Sharon said the children were still sleeping when the attack began. "Luckily, they didn’t know what was going on, and I immediately took them into the fortified room. Such a thing never happened here before. The shells landed across the entire kibbutz and I simply felt that we were at war.
"My husband, Amit, was dispatched to the emergency squad and I remained alone in the room. I felt like there was nothing to do and no one to talk to. At such an early hour of the morning, I telephoned the rest of the kibbutz members hiding in the protected spaces.
"I feel anger because this is our home, and they, the Palestinians, don’t want us to be here. But this is our land, and although I don’t know what will happen in the future, it's safe to say we will not escape and will not be driven away from our home so easily."
'We have gotten used to this situation'One of the mortar shells hit the electricity infrastructure, but several families insisted on celebrating the Passover seder at the kibbutz's dining hall.
Amit Caspi told Ynet that the security situation was nothing new as far as the area's residents were concerned. "A similar incident took place during the holiday of Sukkot. Unfortunately, we have gotten used to this situation. This incident was pretty bad, but we are basically returning to normal."
Carmela Habaz, another kibbutz resident, told Ynet that "upon hearing the mortar shells fired, my two 9 and 11-year-old children ran to my room immediately, and my husband was dispatched to the emergency squad.
"It was scary because it was a heavy barrage and were had no electricity. Although we did not celebrate Passover at the kibbutz, I'm not calm. This is my home and my friends are here."