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Monday, February 27, 2006
Rocket lands in southern kibbutz [IDF shoots at empty fields]

Rocket lands in southern kibbutz [IDF shoots at empty fields]

Qassam causes minor damage to structures in Kibbutz south of Ashkelon; IDF
responds with artillery fire. Military officials were at kibbutz for meeting
at time of attack

Shmulik Hadad YNET 02.27.06
www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3221744,00.html

A Qassam rocket landed in a kibbutz south of Askelon Monday afternoon,
causing no injuries.

The rocket landed in close proximity to residential homes and shattered
several windows. According to local residents, the latest attack marks the
closest a rocket has reached to hitting homes.

The "Red Dawn" alert system provided residents with advance warning before
the Qassam landed.

At the time of the attack, Kibbutz security officials met with members of
the IDF's Home Front Command to discuss reinforcing structures
at the community. Once the rocket alert system was activated, army officials
were also among those who rushed to security rooms.

"Members of the Home Front Command experienced this terrible feeling
themselves," kibbutz resident Ilana Mor told Ynet. "You cannot fully grasp
the meaning of Qassam fire until you experience it yourself, that terrible
fear that paralyzes you."

Monday's attack apparently convinced military officials, who announced the
equipment missing for reinforcing kibbutz homes will be transferred in the
near future.

Army responds with artillery fire

Mor said she was able to hear the loud explosion as the rocket landed.

"We saw the smoke, and because it landed right next to the homes, I told my
kids I'm running over there to see if anyone got hurt," Mor said. "I got
there and saw the rocket right next to the homes. It's a miracle there were
no casualties. But it's clear to us the current situation cannot continue,
and it's becoming more terrible every time."

Following the rocket attack, the IDF directed artillery fire at the area
where the rocket was launched from. At the same time, security forces were
working to pin-point the Qassam's exact landing spot.

Over the weekend, a barrage of rockets landed near Ashkelon. Israel is
planning on escalating its military response, but will not enter Gaza at
this stage to launch a ground operation in order to distance Qassam
launchers from Israeli communities.

Artillery fire will be boosted, however, as well as aerial attacks on access
roads and Qassam launching cells in northern Gaza.

On Thursday, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz ordered a boosted Israeli
response. Government ministers expressed concern for the residents of Sderot
and communities bordering Gaza, as well as Ashkelon, following the increase
in Qassam rockets.

The government said the new reality of Qassam rockets and artillery response
as well as aerial attacks is unacceptable. Ministers said over the weekend
that Israel must ask the U.S. to demand that Palestinian leader Mahmoud
Abbas curb the rocket barrages in order to prevent a dangerous escalation in
the area.

Hanan Greenberg contributed to the story

First Published: 02.27.06, 19:10
Latest Update: 02.27.06, 19:41

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