'This is our Hanukka miracle,' says mother of fivewho escaped attack at her moshav 40 km. from Gaza.
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
Two Katyusha rockets that Hamas fired deep into Israel on Sunday are the same type launched by Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War, an Israel Police source told The Jerusalem Post.
The two rockets were Hamas's deepest attacks into Israeli territory to date. The first Katyusha hit in Gan Yavne, 35 km. north of the Strip, and the second struck 20 minutes later in an undisclosed location near Ashdod, 40 km. from Gaza.
Police sappers who analyzed the projectiles said they carried six to seven kilograms of explosives each, and identified them as 122-millimeter PIPE type-81 Katyusha rockets, which have a range of 40 km.
The rockets contained metal balls designed to act as shrapnel, and the intended effects were visible at a home situated just a few meters from where one of the rockets hit, which looked as if it had been sprayed with a machine gun.
Large, gaping holes peppered the front of the house.
"This is our Hanukka miracle," said Avital, a mother of five who hid with her children and husband in a safe room in the house after hearing the air raid siren. Her family was one of the few in her community on Sunday morning - most of the moshav's families were away on an organized trip. Hours later, the families returned and examined the damaged home with stunned expressions.
Dozens of people lit a large hanukkia and sang holiday songs near the home, in a show of solidarity with the family.
"At 9:30 we heard the first siren. I was praying," Avital said. "My son woke his siblings up and we entered the safe room. Soon afterward, we heard a second siren."
Avital's husband, Eyal, was working in the garden outside their home. "I wouldn't be here now if I hadn't heeded that second siren," Eyal told the Post. "I would be dead."
"We entered the safe room [again] and 30 seconds later, we heard an enormous explosion and shrapnel flying," Avital said.
"My little girl cried, but on the whole we were calm," said her husband.
Police sappers quickly arrived and removed the rocket, which hit moist sand next to the home. The soil appeared to absorb much of the explosion.
"We're reciting psalms and thanking God," Avital said. "Property is replaceable, human lives are not," she added. "We are still in shock from what happened."
Avital expressed support for the current IDF operation in Gaza, saying, "This is a kind of war, and we are prepared to take this in order to win. In Sderot, they have this every day."
The Home Front Command added Yavne and Gadera to its list of communities under threat from Hamas rockets, telling residents there they had one minute to enter shelter in the event of an air raid siren.
However, unlike in Gaza-periphery communities, the Home Front Command said life in Gadera and Yavne could continue as usual.
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