Jerusalem – On Tuesday evening, around 9:30 p.m., two missiles were fired from northern Gaza at the Israeli town of Sderot.
One rocket hit the Sderot home of Yevgenia and Mikhail Laratski. Yevgenia had gone upstairs and was preparing to get into bed. When the alarm sounded, she hurried back down to take shelter under the stairs.
The rocket struck the top floor, causing havoc in the bedroom.
“I had just gone upstairs to get ready for bed, when I heard the red color alert,” Yevgenia told The Bulletin. “I started running downstairs, because that’s where we hide during missile attacks. Suddenly, I heard a very loud boom. The place was full of dust and smoke and we realized that our house had been hit. I don’t want to think about what would have happened if I had gone to bed a few seconds earlier.”
Mikhail and Yevgenia Laratski, emigrated from Belarus in the former U.S.S.R. 17 years ago. Their daughter, who lives next door with her husband, was also home with her daughters at the time.
The families, including the grandparents and grandchildren, were standing inches away from the rocket as it landed through the side of the home into the bedroom, right above a gas tank.
The rocket was packed with pieces of shrapnel and tiny bits of metal. Had the rocket exploded, as many Kassam rockets do, it would have caused much greater damage to the second floor of the Laratskis’ home.
Meanwhile, the bedroom of the home is full of rubble and debris, with a wide gaping hole for a window where the rocket struck. Dust and dirt cover much of the floor outside the bedroom.
“We don’t even have running water right now to begin the cleaning,” said Mikhail. “The rocket damaged the water system and no one has been able to fix the boiler yet.”
The Laratskis’ granddaughters, age 10 and 15, are still in shock from the attack.
Yevgenia and Mikhail’s daughter explains that a psychologist was supposed to come this morning to speak with her daughters, ages 10 and 15, but she never showed up.
“The girls could not sleep all night,” said the mother. “They kept waiting for the next siren alert, for the next boom.”
The mother took the girls to the Sderot Trauma Center after the attack. She works as a nurse at a local hospital and was supposed to work this morning.
“I took the day off,” she says. “My girls need me now more than ever. They have been traumatized enough with the daily sirens and rocket explosions, and now this.”
The Laratskis’ home, like many others in Sderot, is not fortified and has no concrete room or other protected area. Last week, the Israel High Court of Justice ruled against a petition from Sderot residents whose homes are not protected. They asked that the government of Israel be required to construct protected rooms in the homes of Sderot that were built in the 1950s without protected rooms. However, spokespeople of the government of Israel told The Bulletin that they “do not want to create a precedent, since other cities may also come under attack in the future.”
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2008