Sirens sound in Tel Aviv suburbs, Beersheba and Ashkelon on Sunday morning • More than 40 rockets intercepted by Iron Dome over the weekend • Rocket directly strikes yard of Gan Yavne kindergarten • Rocket damages vehicles in Ashdod.
Sunday may have marked the start of a new week in Israel, but one things remained the same -- rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
On Sunday morning, sirens sounded in suburbs north of Tel Aviv. Hamas said it fired three M-75 rockets at the Tel Aviv area.
Later, sirens sounded in Rishon Lezion area, just south of Tel Aviv, and the Iron Dome intercepted an incoming rocket.
Rockets were also fired at the Beersheba and Ashkelon regions on Sunday morning, as well as at communities adjacent to the Gaza border.
On Friday and Saturday, more than 100 rocket and mortar shells were fired from Gaza into southern and central Israel. More than 40 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome.
In Gan Yavne, a rocket directly hit the yard of a kindergarten and caused damage to nearby buildings, including two homes and a synagogue. A 40-year-old woman was lightly wounded by shrapnel.
Early Saturday morning, a Grad rocket struck a populated area in Ashdod. There were no injuries, but several vehicles were damaged, as was a road surface.
Tel Aviv residents had to scramble for cover twice on Friday. Late Friday afternoon, the Iron Dome intercepted a volley of rockets fired at Tel Aviv. Shrapnel fell in Bnei Brak and Petach Tikva, but there were no injuries. Three hours later, another salvo of rockets was fired at Tel Aviv. A motorcyclist was injured when he was hit by a passing vehicle on the Ayalon highway as the rocket warning sirens sounded.
Meanwhile, the absence of protective facilities in the areas populated by Bedouin exacted the heaviest possible toll on Friday when 30-year-old Oudi al-Waj was killed and his 3-month-old daughter was seriously wounded as a rocket fired from Gaza struck their home. The victim's 4-year-old son and his wife, 24, were also wounded, as was one other relative.
A friend of the family said that "when they say that rockets exploded in open areas, that means they exploded where we live. The Iron Dome system does not intercept these rockets, there are no sirens and we don't have shelters. This particular rocket struck these people's home, 50 meters from my house. They didn't have a chance. Their house was hit directly, and it isn't even a house -- it is a kind of hut."
The infant suffered head injuries, and she is currently under a medically induced coma. The 4-year-old sustained light shrapnel injuries all over his body.
"We didn't hear any siren," said the children's maternal grandfather who spent the weekend next to his daughter's hospital bed. "But even if we had, there would not have been anything for us to do. There is nowhere to hide."
"He was a good guy. He worked and provided for his family. He never did anything bad," the grandfather said.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel remarked that "last Thursday, Defense Ministry representatives argued before the High Court of Justice that the incoming rockets posed practically no threat to the residents of the unrecognized villages in the Negev, and that all they need to do is lay down on the ground when they hear the rockets whizzing overhead, because there is no siren." The argument was made after the Bedouin residents, together with ACRI, filed a petition demanding that the state provide protection to the 100,000 people living in that region.
The state rejected the petition on the claim that "the current situation in the Bedouin villages, the absence of shelters and protected areas, is not a result of intended discrimination or any kind of policy but rather a result of unauthorized construction in flagrant disregard of rules and regulations."
A Homefront Command official said that "over the last several years, the Homefront Command has been operating on several levels to improve the protection of the Bedouin population."
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