250 Sderot protesters gather at PMO

Demonstrators briefly block main J'lem entrance, demand gov't take stronger steps against rockets.

Sderot protest 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Sderot protest 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
A day after two young brothers were wounded in a Kassam rocket attack on Sderot, one losing his leg, some 250 residents of the town and some of their supporters gathered outside the Prime Minister's Office demanding the government take stronger steps against rocket attacks. The protesters called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to speak to them, but no one came out of the building. There was a standoff between police and protesters who tried to break through a barrier outside the PMO, but the confrontation did not degenerate into violence. Earlier, the protesters briefly blocked the main entrance to Jerusalem, preventing access to and from the capital. The protesters called on Olmert to quit and held signs which read:" The fate of Sderot is the same as the fate of Tel Aviv." They brought remains of two Kassam rockets to demonstrate the constant threat the western Negev town is under. Police were at the site but they made no attempt to disperse the protesters. After leaving the area, the demonstrators marched toward the PMO. Early Sunday morning, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his deputy, Matan Vilna'i, visited Sderot following the turbulent weekend during which some four dozen rockets were fired at the town. Despite Barak's pledge that Israel would continue to fight terror in Gaza, he was confronted by angry Sderot residents demanding that the government take stronger steps against the rocket fire. "What did you come here for," shouted one Sderot man. "You are abandoning our children's lives. You are perpetuating the situation, not changing it." Barak said: "Operations against the Kassam fire will continue." He added that the IDF was carrying out different types of operations in the Strip, "some undercover," to limit the rocket attacks. The two Sderot brothers, aged eight and 19, and two other members of their family were hospitalized when a rocket fired from northern Gaza struck two meters from where the boys were standing. Eyewitnesses said the brothers were walking when the first rocket slammed into the ground two meters from eight-year-old Osher Twito and his 19-year-old brother, Rami. Magen David Adom teams rushed Rami and Osher to Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital, where the 19-year-old's condition was upgraded to moderate while doctors were forced to amputate one of the younger boy's legs.