Two-year-old Tair Afgin, who was wounded when a Palestinian Grad rocket crashed into an Ashkelon shopping mall on Wednesday, has regained consciousness. Doctors at the Sheba Medical Center said on Thursday that the girl's condition continues to be serious but confirm she is stable.
Tair's father, Adi Afgin, said he knew his wife and daughter were among the 15 injured when he heard the medical clinic on the mall's second floor had been hit. At first he rushed over to the commercial center with his mother-in-law but quickly began making his way to the nearby Barzilai Hospital after he failed to locate his family in the crowd. There he was informed his wife Avital had been moderately wounded while their daughter was being treated for severe injuries.
Afgin said the family would not even consider relocating to a different city. “We’ll go back to Ashkelon for now. The city needs our support. We don’t believe running away is the solution, like we're seeing in Sderot. It only encourages terrorism."
“It’s a miracle all her limbs remained intact,” said Avital’s mother, sighing in relief after seeing her daughter and granddaughter. “I thank God they are with us.”
Avital is yet to be told of the extent of her daughter's injuries.
“She asked me about her this morning, and I said she had only broken her leg. I don’t want to cause her any further trauma now," said Adi.
Avital has undergone several operations to remove shrapnel from various places in her body while doctors are waiting for Tair's condition to stabilize further before they attempt to remove shards of shrapnel that pierced her head.
'Long recovery ahead'Another woman who was also moderately wounded in the strike is Dr. Mirale Sidrer, GYN, who had been tending to a patient at the clinic when the rocket struck. The patient, also a woman, was also moderately wounded.
Sidrer’s husband Moshe, himself a physician, said his wife was able to call him just after the attack.
“We talked about the Qassams,” he recalled, "she was concerned the clinic wasn't fortified and that they were vulnerable. Unfortunately, this fear was realized. From here we are embarking on a long period of rehabilitation and reconstructive surgery, and it’s not going to be easy."
Like the Afgins, Moshe said the family has no intention of leaving Ashkelon.
“That's an awful question to raise, there isn't even the slightest chance we would ever consider that. This is my home, where I raised my children and nothing will chase us away from here… if the government is unable to handle the attacks, then the public must choose a different government in a democratic election."
Tal Rabinovsky contributed to this report.