Sderot comes under fire, again

Palestinians claim IAF strike kills two Gazans, wounds four others in Beit Hanun; claim casualties civilian.

bush in israel graphic  (photo credit:)
bush in israel graphic
(photo credit: )
Gazans greeted US President George W. Bush with more than a dozen Kassam rockets and mortar shells on Wednesday, including one instance in which a mother and baby narrowly escaped death as a rocket slammed in to the Sderot house in which they were staying. Shortly thereafter, Palestinians said, two Gazans were killed and four were wounded by an IAF strike in Bet Hanun. Palestinians said the two fatalities were innocent bystanders - Hadra Wahdan, 52, and Muhammad Kfarneh, 15. The attacks began shortly before 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, when four rockets were fired at Israeli communities in the western Negev. Two hours later, a second barrage was launched - and this time, rockets hit Sderot, with one landing in the yard of a home on Rehov Hehalutz and damaging the building. One person was treated for shock. After a few hours of relative quiet, the Kassams began to pound the western Negev once again - this time, causing more injuries and damage. A Kassam hit the roof of an empty house in the beleaguered city, and a second struck near an elementary school. Minutes later, one person was wounded in the legs by shrapnel and three suffered from shock when yet another rocket hit Sderot. One rocket crashed through the roof of a house where a young mother lived together with her infant son. Fortunately, they were in another room. The Popular Resistance Committees took responsibility for the attack. Eight other rockets hit open areas, causing no damage. The woman's husband was at work in the center of the country, but the woman's brother-in-law, Sderot resident Danny Dahan, said that as soon as she heard the "Color Red" rocket warning, she grabbed her baby, "ran into the bomb shelter and was saved by a miracle." Dahan, hearing of the strike, ran to the house and "saw a rocket that had disintegrated the young boy's bed," he told Army Radio. "How much more can we stand? How strong can we be? We're being abandoned," said a tearful Dahan. Less than an hour later, a Kassam scored a direct hit on a building at a nearby kibbutz, and a second rocket exploded nearby. Residents of the kibbutz emphasized that their community did not have reinforced buildings to protect against such attacks. Residents at another nearby kibbutz were surprised to discover that a rocket had landed in one of their henhouses, but fortunately - for kibbutzniks and chickens alike - it did not explode. In response to the attacks, the IDF struck an Islamic Jihad terror cell in the northern Gaza Strip that the army said was behind the mortar fire. Palestinian medics said one gunman was killed and six were wounded. While the IDF has scaled back operations in Gaza due to Bush's visit to Jerusalem, defense officials said the military would continue to act against Kassam launch squads and other terrorists in the advanced stages of preparing attacks. The officials predicted that the Palestinians would continue to fire Kassam rockets at the western Negev throughout Bush's visit, which ends on Friday.