police holding kassam.
(photo credit: AP [file])
A Kassam rocket landed without exploding in an IDF base in the western Negev late Sunday morning, a week after a Kassam rocket hit a Sderot school. No soldiers were wounded and no damage was reported.
Earlier Sunday, three Katyusha rockets hit an IAF base on Mount Meron in the north.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz, touring Sderot last Monday, conceded that anti-Kassam protection measures for schools and kindergartens in the Western Negev won't be in place by September.
'The chances that we will complete all the reinforcements before the beginning of the start of school in September seems a fantasy to me,' said Peretz, who, along with Education Minister Yuli Tamir, met with Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal and the heads of the Eshkol, Ashkelon, Sha'ar Hanegev and Sdot Negev regional councils.
Also at Peretz's request, Knesset Finance Committee Chairman Ya'acov Litzman (UTJ) announced on Sunday the transfer of NIS 52 million to fund the reinforcement of 42 kindergartens. The estimated cost of protecting just the kindergartens in the area near the Gaza Strip is NIS 210m., according to officials at the Finance Ministry.
Uri Naamati, head of the Eshkol regional council, said that NIS 70m. for adding protection to schools near Gaza were transferred to the municipalities yesterday, after a year of bureaucratic wrangling. Preparing the sites for construction would take three months, and the actual work another three months, Naamati said.
When Sderot's comptroller voiced frustration with the bureaucratic delays, Peretz said the Defense Ministry would form a team to coordinate the ministries' work in an effort to accelerate the transfer of funds.
At a meeting at the Kirya General Staff Headquarters in Tel Aviv on Sunday, Peretz told American security envoy Gen. Keith Dayton that the rocket attack on the school constituted an escalation and that he and the defense establishment would act decisively against those responsible, 'utilizing all the tools at our disposal.'
A spokesman for the IDF's Southern Command confirmed the army did not plan to change its the current anti-Kassam measures as a result of the direct hit on the school.
Approximately 400 Kassam rockets, launched from Northern Gaza, have landed in Israel since the Gaza disengagement, according to IDF sources. Some 20 have landed in Israel in the last two months, a significant decrease from previous months and one that army officials attribute to use of artillery against launch sites.
No Israelis have been killed by rockets launched from the Strip since the pullout nine months ago.