Jerusalem – Since the 26th of November last year, the day of the “cease-fire,” the number of missiles fired from Gaza toward Sderot and the Western Negev has reached 270.
New Missile Victim In Sderot
In Sderot, Hanna Ben Yaaiesh’s home was hit by a direct missile attack on Monday morning at 6:42 a.m. Hanna is a widow, a grandmother who has six grandchildren in Sderot. She moved there in April 1956, with her parents, three brothers and four sisters from Morocco.
Sitting in her kitchen all day yesterday, Hanna and two of her of her daughters welcomed the stream of visitors who came to express their concern.
Hanna says that she was glad she was the only one in the house at the time of the attack, because her grandchildren often sleep by her to keep her company.
On Sunday night, she was feeling that something wrong might happen, and she told her grandchildren that she wants to be alone that night.
The second thing Hanna was thankful for, was that the missile hit before 7:30 a.m. in the morning, when over 80 children go to- ‘Gan Kalaniet’ – the kindergarten that is located exactly 10 meters away from her home.
The only complaint that Hanna had was that she has no “secure room” where she can take cover from the threat of the rockets.
Hanna’s situation is like over 1,000 resident families in Sderot who have no “secure room” or “secure area” they can run to in 15 seconds after they hear the siren.
So what do you do when you hear the ‘Tseva Adom’ – [The siren alert], The Bulletin asked Hanna.
“I put the pillow on my ears, because the siren itself is horrifying … .”
Meanwhile, there are still six kindergartens in Sderot which are still not protected and which have no “secure area,” out of 31 kindergartens in all of the Western Negev that also remain unprotected.
Tepid Response Of Israeli Government
The reaction of the Israeli government to the latest missile attacks was best summarized in the statement issued by the Israeli prime minister’s office that Mahmoud Abbas should stop the missile attacks.
When The Bulletin asked how the Israeli Prime Minister could ask Abbas to do anything when he seems to have no power, no response was received.
Meanwhile, the Israeli defense minister’s office issued a statement that anyone seen launching a missile will be dealt with.
The Israeli defense minister’s office would not answer The Bulletin’s question as to why it will not kill those who give the orders to fire the missiles, since the leaders of the Palestinian Authority appeared on official Palestinian Authority television giving orders to fire these missiles. Three years ago, the Israeli government authorized the killing of Palestinian leaders Sheikh Achmed Yassin and Dr. Abdul Rantissi after they endorsed similar attacks on Israeli civilian targets.
Israeli Air Force
In response to the continued missile attacks on Sderot and the Western Negev, the Israel Air Force did resume unmanned aerial vehicle [UAV] operations in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian sources also confirmed that the Israeli air force has sent combat UAVs in operations to detect and destroy Palestinian missile squads and launchers in the northern Gaza Strip.
On Sunday, an Israeli UAV fired an air-to-ground missile toward a Palestinian missile squad in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, in northern Gaza. None of the squad members were injured.
This was the first report of an Israeli combat UAV employed in the northern Gaza Strip in 2007. The Israeli military significantly reduced air operations over the area since the Palestinian Authority declared a cease-fire in November 2006.
On Monday, Israel’s military confirmed that an Israeli helicopter targeted a vehicle from the Islamic Jihad and injured two men.
“The Israel Defense Forces carried out an aerial attack against a vehicle laden with explosives that was on its way to launch rockets from the northern Gaza Strip into Israel,” the military said in a statement on Monday. “The vehicle and the explosives inside were destroyed in the attack.”
Plan Of Action Made By Israeli Army
A plan of action was presented by the Israeli Army on Monday to the Israeli government cabinet which discussed engaging hostile forces that have been attacking Israel from Gaza.
The head of the Israeli Army Southern Command, Major-General Yoav Galant, listed five components for the plan:
1. Creating a buffer zone on the Palestinian side of the fence separating the Gaza Strip from Israel. The buffer zone would not be intended as a permanent presence of IDF forces, but rather limited military activities aimed at throwing local terror organizations off balance, as well as keeping them at a distance from the fence.
2. An escalation of retaliatory actions following the firing of missiles to render launching the missiles counterproductive by extracting a price from the Palestinians.
3. The renewal of aerial killings of high-ranking terrorists as well as Palestinians responsible for firing missiles and arms smuggling.
4. Developing improved technology for detecting and destroying tunnels employed for arms smuggling.
5. Reinforcing intelligence capabilities.
So far, the Israeli government has not approved this or any other plan of action.
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2007