Elderly man dies of heart attack running to bomb shelter

July 26, 2006 01:46
3 minute read.


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One of 14 rockets that hit Haifa on Tuesday and wounded 23 people landed by Hanan Shushan's front window and convinced him to pack his bag and head out of the city - even as his father, Meir, insisted on staying in the home where he has lived for the last 25 years. "Where would I go?" asked the silver-haired man as he stood in his first floor apartment that was filled with shattered glass and memories of raising his four children. "I want to be here, this is my home," he said, even as Hanan, his youngest son, pointed out the structural damage to the walls. Still, Meir insisted that he would sleep that night in his home, even though the blast had taken out all his home's windows and dislodged a window frame, which lay across the sofa in the living room. The rocket barrage indirectly led to the death of a 76-year-old Haifa resident who died of a heart attack after collapsing as he ran towards a bomb shelter upon hearing a warning siren. At Rambam Medical Center, where many of the wounded were treated - including two people for moderate wounds and the rest for light wounds or shock - stretchers were lined up and waiting in front of the emergency room even before the missiles fell. Some hospital workers raced for the protection of the stairwell when the sirens rang out, while others headed for the emergency room doors. More than a dozen ambulances arrived with blood-streaked victims on stretchers, several trembling in fright. One young girl ran in crying "Mother!" as medics helped an older woman into the emergency room. Throughout the city, emergency crews were busy dealing with the aftermath of the rocket strikes. One team pulled a missile out of a crater-like hole in the brown earth of a traffic circle. It's a scene that Haifa residents have come to expect as the Hizbullah rocket attacks continue. Down the coast, workers were busy cleaning out glass from the shattered windows by the mini-mall near the sea. Tables were still set in the mall's restaurant. A large plastic letter Y from a nearby store's sign had randomly landed between the horns of the lifelike statue of a cow that stands at the mall's entrance. As they worked, another siren rang out and the workers raced to a sheltered area. Back in Haifa, Meir Shushan said he had had an uneasy feeling earlier that morning and had left home to hang out in his closed shop in the Hadar neighborhood, located on the hillside, which he believed was more secure. But he returned home when Hanan called to tell of him of the damage. Hanan was among the estimated 125,000 residents of the city who have fled the almost daily barrage of missiles. "I spent a week in Tel Aviv and Ashkelon, but then I came home," he said. His return to Haifa turned out to be only a brief respite as he put clothing in his large backpack on a dining room chair, ready to head out again. Batya Pinchas said she was also considering leaving now that the blast had taken out the windows in the bank across the street where she works. "I'm one of those who believe that every missile has an address, no matter where you are," she said. Even so, she added, "I was trying to be brave, but now I am not sure if I am going to stay." Still, she prayed that she wouldn't be hit when she drove to work during the morning. Earlier this week a man was killed by a rocket as he drove down a Haifa street. When the sirens blasted, she and the other four employees in the bank headed for the bathroom, which is the safest spot in the building, she said. Standing by the tomatoes strewn across the ground amid the glass in his family's convenience store, Mario Basila said that his father, who was working there when the missile struck, was being treated for light wounds in the hospital. "He came to work because he wanted to continue life as normal," he said.

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