A Qassam rocket fired from Gaza slammed between two homes around 5:30 p.m., local time, yesterday. The Tzeva Adom, Color Red siren, blared twice in the city, sending residents fleeing to area bomb shelters. After the second Color Red siren, an unusually loud explosion sounded throughout the city.
The sound of the rocket explosion shocked no one more than Ilan Dahan. Ilan was sleeping when the Qassam rocket crashed into his backyard, right outside his bedroom.
“I slept right through the Color Red siren,” said Ilan. Ilan, dazed and shocked, walked into his bedroom. His bed was full of broken glass, from a window right above the bed, which shattered from the impact of the rocket slamming into the ground.
“It’s a miracle that all I got was this small scratch,” Ilan told the Sderot Media Center. A piece of broken glass struck Ilan’s back, leaving behind a red mark.
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Both of Ilan’s parents were home when the rocket struck. His father raced into Ilan’s bedroom after the rocket struck, picked his son up and carried him outside to safety. “At that point, I didn’t even realize that the rocket hit right outside our home,” said Ilan, who is 18 and getting ready to enter the army.
Shula, Ilan’s mother, looked tearfully at her son.
“I never expected this to happen to us during a cease-fire,” she said. The family was sitting outside in the front of the home to cool off from the heat of the evening when the siren sounded.
“We didn’t react quickly enough to the siren,” said Shula. “If we had reacted, we would have raced to the back of the home where our new shelter is located. Most likely, one of us would have been injured because the rocket exploded right outside the shelter.”
The back of the Dahans’ home suffered severe damage from the rocket blast. Broken glass and debris littered the floor, while holes from rocket shrapnel marked the ceiling and walls. Outside, the Dahans’ shelter was also covered with shrapnel marks.
The rocket explosion also damaged the home next to the Dahans.
Family members from both sides suffered shock, as did neighbors further along the street. Several people were treated for trauma on the scene.
The rocket attack comes as the Sderot Mental Health Center is shutting down. Dr. Adrianne Katz, the head of Sderot Mental Health, told the Sderot Media Center that the mental health center is closing due to budget cuts. The Sderot Mental Health Center has provided therapy treatments to thousands of Sderot trauma victims and has 5,500 patients on file.
The Gaza rocket attacks on Sderot came in the wake of the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama in the White House on Monday.
During a White House press conference after the meeting, President Obama said: “[T]here is a recognition that the Palestinians are going to have to do a better job providing the kinds of security assurances that Israelis would need to achieve a two-state solution, [and] gain additional legitimacy and credibility with their own people, and delivering services.”
Mr. Obama also called the situation in Sderot unacceptable and recalled his experience visiting the city during last year’s presidential campaign.
When Mr. Obama visited Sderot last year, he stated in a Sderot press conference: “I will work from the moment that I return to America, to tell the story of Sderot and to make sure that the good people who live here are enjoying a future of peace and security and hope.”
The president emphasized Israel’s responsibility to protect its citizens.
“If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing,” Mr. Obama said.
Yesterday marked the fifth month since the Hamas-Israel cease-fire in mid-January. Since then, over 210 rockets have been fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza at Israel.
David Bedein can be reached at email@example.com