Soldiers evacuate babies from Israeli daycare centre as Islamic Jihad rockets fall
Last updated at 08:53am on 3rd September 2007
Soldiers scrambled to evacuate babies from a day care center in rocket-scarred Sderot today after a projectile fired by Palestinian militants thudded into the courtyard.
None of the 15 babies at the center was hurt. But frantic parents across the city - already furious over the government's failure to protect them and their children from the near-daily rocket fire - pulled their children out of schools on the second day of the academic year.
The army said six rockets were fired at the southern Israeli city, which lies just a few kilometres from the Gaza Strip, and at least one landed. The Islamic Jihad militant group claimed responsibiity for firing three.
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Batya Katar, head of the Sderot Parents Association, said parents were pulling all 2,500 of the town's students out of school.
"Buses are already on the way to pick up students who haven't been taken home already," Katar said by telephone, the voices of panicked parents audible in the background. The government promised to move students out of the city if there was an escalation in Palestinian rocket fire, she said.
"This is an escalation, but there is no sign of any solution," Katar said.
Wary parents in Sderot threatened not to send their children to school on the first day of the year on Sunday. But they lifted the strike threat after being promised the schools were properly protected and that shelters had been upgraded.
Sderot, a working-class town of 22,000, has been battered by thousands of the crude projectiles launched in recent years from Gaza. The rockets rarely cause serious injuries or damage, but they have killed 12 people in the past seven years, and because of their frequency, wreak panic in the city.
To calm jittery residents ahead of the school year, the military dispatched more than 200 soldiers to accompany students back to school in Sderot and instruct them on emergency procedures.
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Thank you for your comments, Danny. We, in Israel, are totally frustrated and angry with this so-called government! You are right - no other country would put up with this!
What other country in the world apart from Israel would put up with its neighbour firing rockets indiscriminately at its citizens day after day? Certainly not the United Kingdom for one. The authorities in Gaza must be held to account - but what is Israel to do? Those in charge of Gaza are pledged to Israel's destruction and actively encourage the firing of rockets and cry foul when Israel retaliates against those who do the firing. Israel supplies essential commodities to the Gazans including water and electricity, maybe a few days without electricity might affect attitudes. However, I doubt that because recently the Hamas even turned back fruit supplied by Israel in order to "punish" Israeli farmers! Short of a re-taking of the Gaza strip by Israel, with all its dangers to innocent life is there an answer?
- Danny Richards, London, England
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Ahhh, what the hell they are only Jews, right?