The IDF Home Front Command on Wednesday finished mapping out the number of schools in the western Negev in need of reinforcement against the threat of incoming Palestinian-fired Kassam rockets.
Following orders from Defense Minister Amir Peretz to locate the schools in a seven-kilometer radius of the Gaza Strip and within the Kassams' range, the Home Front Command found 24 schools, two of which will need to be completely rebuilt. The cost of reinforcing the roofs of the 22 remaining schools, officials said, would be NIS 165 million.
Peretz has also decided to use the Defense Ministry's in-house contractor to carry out the project, a move that will save time since there would be no need, the officials said, to publish a public tender for the project. Officials said that it was likely that most of the school roofs would be reinforced by the beginning of the school year in September.
Half of the schools were in Sderot and the other half were in Gaza-belt communities located within range of Kassam rockets.
Meanwhile Wednesday, one Kassam rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip and landed near a strategic installation south of Ashkelon. Defense officials expressed satisfaction with the relative quiet that has prevailed over the Gaza Strip since Tuesday morning claiming that Peretz's threat to escalate the IDF's operation against Hamas targets had the right effect and was "absorbed" and understood by the Palestinians.
"We have military superiority over them and they know it," one official said. "They understood our threat and it appears for now that they are working to curb the rocket fire."