The hands of the clock at the health clinic in the city stopped at 7:11 a.m.
At that precise time, a Grad rocket exploded in the heart of the city Tuesday morning for the first time since the end of the Israeli military operation in Gaza.
The rocket fell not far from schools, in an area where hundreds of children walk to school every morning. This time, the rocket preceded them by a few minutes.
Rocket schrapnel damaged cars and buildings, including the health clinic, where about 10 people were located at the time of the explosion.
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Three of the people suffered from shock and required treatment, including the cleaning woman, who had been taking out the trash.
For fear of continued rocket attacks on the city, the municipal parents committee announced that school would be canceled. The Ashkelon municipality and the Home Front Command thought differently, creating confusion among the parents.
Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin instructed that school be held as usual, so as to return the city to routine life as quickly as possible, but only about half the pupils showed up.
“It is impossible for the parents committee to make decisions without consulting security officials,” said a municipality source.
Yesterday morning, school was held as usual in Ashkelon in all educational institutions and kindergartens.
Israeli Army Home Front Command Maj. Gen. Yair Golan instructed soldiers of the Home Front Command to accompany the pupils to school. This morning, a company of officers will deploy in Ashkelon schools in order to raise the pupils’ sense of security.
David Bedein can be reached at email@example.com