Rocket explodes near school in Netivot

In show of no-confidence, some communities close schools.

March 16, 2012 00:48
1 minute read.
Iron Dome battery in Ashdod

Iron Dome battery in Ashdod_370. (photo credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters)


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Gazan terrorists continued to fire rockets at communities in southern Israel on Thursday, with one landing dangerously close to a school in Netivot, casting further doubt on reports that a cease-fire was being observed by Islamist groups in the Strip.

On Thursday night, a rocket landed in an open field in the Eshkol region, causing no harm, and the Iron Dome anti-rocket system intercepted a missile fired at Ashdod.

In the morning, a Grad rocket exploded near a school on the outskirts of Netivot. The rocket failed to cause injuries, but sparked panic among parents, who quickly came to take their children home. The school was open because the city of Netivot decided to follow nonbinding IDF Home Front Command instructions and hold classes.

A few hours later, Palestinians sent another Grad rocket hurtling toward Beersheba. The army’s Iron Dome system intercepted the rocket.

Following the morning attacks in the South, the mayors of Beersheba, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Gan Yavne declared that schools would be shut in their cities. The move was a show of no-confidence in Home Front Command assessments that a “calm” had taken hold.

Ofakim Mayor Zvi Greengold criticized the inconsistent manner in which some areas of the South shut schools while other areas kept theirs open.

Referring to mayors who closed schools, such as Beersheba’s Ruvik Danilovich, Greengold said that they “contradicted Home Front Command instructions and caused confusion in other cities. The Home Front Command must put a stop to this intolerable situation.”

The mayors said, however, that the daily rocket attacks proved that schools remained unsafe for children.

“I have said clearly that when rockets are being fired, there will be no studies,” Danilovich said.

Before dawn on Thursday, Israeli aircraft struck terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket attacks the day before, the IDF Spokesman said.

Late Thursday night, Palestinian sources said IAF helicopters fired at an area in the northwestern Gaza Strip and that Navy warships fired missiles at the coast of Gaza. No casualties were reported and there was no confirmation of an attack by the IDF.

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