Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Israeli schoolchildren attacked

From The International Herald Tribune, September 3, 2007, by The Associated Press [my emphasis added - SL]:

SDEROT, Israel: A Palestinian rocket landed in a courtyard next to a crowded day care center in this southern Israeli town on Monday, sending panicked mothers scrambling to take their screaming toddlers to safety.

None of the 15 children 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 and it was unclear whether studies would resume.

The army said seven rockets were fired Monday morning at Sderot, a frequently targeted city that lies just a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the Gaza Strip. The Islamic Jihad militant group claimed responsibility.....

...."Buses are already on the way to pick up students who haven't been taken home already," Katar told The Associated Press by telephone, the voices of panicked parents audible in the background.

....At one Sderot school, Nahum Bitton arrived to take his children home.
"Of course I'll take them out. Should I leave them in the hands of Hamas?" Bitton told

....Sderot, a working-class town of 22,000, has been battered by thousands of the crude projectiles launched in recent years from Gaza. The inaccurate 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....

....After the latest rocket barrage, Sderot's mayor, Eli Moyal, accused the government of abandoning his city. "They simply don't care," he told Army Radio....

......Tzahi Hanegbi, chairman of parliament's Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, Israel will soon have to consider a wider ground operation in Gaza. "At some stage, decided by Israel, there will be no choice but to wage a campaign in the Gaza Strip," he told Army Radio.

In the meantime, DEBKAfile reports, September 3, 2007:

Newly-arrived Iranian and Hizballah instructors upgrade Palestinian missile capabilities in Gaza. IDF restrained from striking

For all its upgraded armor, Israel’s armed forces are prevented from launching effective offensive action to destroy the upgraded Palestinian missile infrastructure in Gaza.

After a Palestinian seven-missile barrage hit Sderot and its environs Sunday, the town’s parents decided to send the town’s school children to Jerusalem with their school books to hold classes opposite the Knesset.

They are protesting yet another meaningless pledge by the prime minister “to punish every missile launcher” in Gaza and his appeal to… the UN to stop the Palestinian missile blitz from Gaza. Sderot citizens say the school year which opened Sunday, Sept 2, is over. The town is breaking up because the armed forces are not allowed to break up the Hamas and Jihad Islami missile system or stop the flow of smuggled war materiel into Gaza. Once the education system shuts down, the town will expire.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report: The Jihad Islami chief Mohammad al Hindi recently brought back from Tehran dozens of Iranian and Hizballah artillery experts who are training their operatives and advising on the development of upgraded, extended-range missiles. Southern command officers told DEBKAfile: The government forbids us to take out the Iranian and Hizballah missile experts recently arrived in Gaza.

The officers ask why the government appealed to the United Nations, which is helpless, instead of to Egypt, which knowingly allowed the terrorists and their foreign advisers to touch down in Cairo and proceed to Gaza despite an intelligence alert of their arrival. Since they landed in early August, Palestinian capabilities have improved. Above all, the commanders ask, why is the army not given the go-ahead to knock out the upgraded Palestinian military machine and its foreign helpers.

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