Some 265,000 children have returned to school on Thursday after days spent at home and in shelters, taking cover from rocket barrages fired from Gaza on southern communities.
"When the rocket hit, I felt blast at home," said, Ron, a 10-year-old Beersheba resident whose hand was injured when the impact of a rocket explosion rocked his home. The Grad rocket hit Ron's schoolyard.
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"It's fun to return to school, but it's terrible that we were hit by a rocket," he added.
On Thursday morning, curious students huddled around a wall that was damaged in the blast, watching construction workers who were repairing it and trying to find shrapnel.
School wall hit in blast (Photo: Herzl Yosef)
Nelly, a mom residing in the area, said she isn't afraid to bring her kids back to the site of the blast.
"The school has shelters, and the kids cannot stay at home," she said.
Another mom, Anna, admitted she did not tell her daughter that her school was hit in order not to frighten her.
"It's scary, but we have no choice," he said. "Things must return to normal. I don't trust this truce, but there's nothing I can do."
'Kids are ready for repeat attack'
The Education Ministry's Southern District superintendent, Amira Haim, told Ynet that there are 265,714 students in the district, and that schools reported full attendance on Thursday.
According to Haim, the principals and teachers were instructed to greet the pupils with chocolate and flowers, and to use the first period to discuss the kids' experiences and feelings.
Back to school in Ashdod (Photo: Avi Rokach)
"Our goal is to embrace the children, to project warmth and love upon them, to hear about the experiences that they have gone through in the past few days and to teach them about IDF operations," she said.
The superintendent noted that the kids are well prepared to deal with a repeat attack, and have practiced descending to the shelters.
"Each student knows what must be done when the siren goes off," she explained. "These are life-saving instructions, and we make sure to practice them routinely."
The State decided to resume school activity on Wednesday, after a truce was agreed upon between the sides. Hours after the ceasfire was reached, a rocket hit a parking lot in the city of Netivot.
Educational institutions in the south have been closed since Sunday.
The latest escalation in fire began on Friday afternoon, after the IDF assassinated Popular Resistance Committee Secretary General Zuhir al-Qaisi, who was planning a terror attack against Israel. Some 250 rockets and mortar shells were fired in the following days, injuring several Israelis. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted dozens of rockets meant for southern cities.
The IDF retaliated with several strikes on the Strip. The Palestinians reported that 25 were killed in the raids.
Tomer Velmer contributed to the report
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