(photo credit: Channel 2 [file])
After a near-miss at one western Negev kibbutz over the weekend, Kibbutz Zikim was less fortunate Sunday when a rocket landed directly under the window of a kibbutz residence, causing extensive damage and hurting a three-year-old boy.
Rom Gertal was playing on the floor of his living room with his mother sitting a few meters away when the Kassam rocket launched from the northern Gaza Strip slammed into the side of the small kibbutz home. Sivan Katzir said she immediately ran over to her son and picked him up.
Within minutes, kibbutz residents and emergency teams flocked to the house, she said. Both mother and son were evacuated to Ashkelon's Barzilai Medical Center, where the boy was treated for scratches to his face and Katzir was treated for shock.
Their house has a "secure room," Katzir said, but she hadn't heard any alarm sounded alerting her to take cover.
The kibbutz is located near the IDF's Zikim Basic Training Base, where, three months ago, more than three dozen soldiers were wounded when a Kassam rocked scored a direct hit. Soldiers complained that they had not heard any alarm sounded prior to the strike.
Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack.
Two hours later there was another rocket strike on a nearby kibbutz. In that attack - as well as the other two that occurred Sunday - there were no casualties or damage reported.
"It is time for Defense Minister Ehud Barak to wake up from his dreams and to understand that his job is to cause a 'special situation' in the Gaza Strip and to carry out his talk about a wide-ranging land operation in Gaza, so that heartbreaking sights like those we have witnessed today on Kibbutz Zikim will not continue to occur in the Gaza periphery communities and Sderot," said Alon Davidi, the head of a protest organization in Sderot.
A new military report was released Sunday about the Kassam attacks launched from Gaza that have become a near-daily routine throughout the western Negev.
The report revealed that more than 190,000 Israelis are within range of Kassam-type rockets in the western Negev.
The rockets currently have a range of about nine kilometers, putting Sderot and numerous kibbutzim and rural communities under threat, as well as the southernmost neighborhoods of Ashkelon.
An increased range of three to four km. would put Netivot within range, as well as all of Ashkelon, which has 108,300 residents.
The data presented Sunday also revealed that an estimated 2,380 rockets landed in the western Negev over the past six years, half of which landed in Sderot. Of the 10 people killed by the rockets since 2001, nine of the victims were in Sderot, while one was in Kibbutz Netiv Ha'asara.
More than 1,600 people have been treated for shock as a result of rocket attacks in the past six years.
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