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FIRST HAND ACCOUNT: WHEN HAMAS FIRED ROCKETS ALL AROUND ME

by Orli Avior, correspondent for the Winnipeg Jewish Review in Ashkelon November 21, 2018

 
I live in Ashkelon , in Southern Israel, where recently Hamas sent over 400 rockets in less than a 24 hour period . This was done after Israel allowed 15 Million Qatari dollars into Gaza. When rockets fall near my  back yard, the situation becomes more than real.
 
A few of my friends and I were doing volunteer work with some youth at risk, when about 4:30 in the afternoon the rockets started flying overhead.  We had a choice to make. We could either go into the shelter with the kids and the staff or go home.  With the amount of action going on overhead we decided to go home.  It proved to be a good choice at things only got worse. 
 
Normally the Iron Dome fends off 90 % of Hamas rockets that will hit in populated areas. But Hamas learned from the last volley of rockets that if they send many in the same area they may be able to get more past the Iron Dome.  Hamas was right.  Many of the barrage of Hamas rockets fell in Ashkelon.  It gets annoying to have to jump up and run to the safe room,especially when a rocket is fired  in the middle of the night. Some people have a safe room in their apartment, but others are less fortunate and must run to the closest shelter or safe area. In Ashkelon we have 30 seconds to get to a protected area unlike the communities further south that have half that time,or less.
 
Late in the evening my husband and I knew that a couple of the explosions we heard must have been close to us.  I got up early the next day even though I had been up till the wee hours of the morning, thanks to the first siren going off at 6:25 a.m. Notwithstanding that all schools and many public areas were closed with rockets still flying, I decided  that instead of sitting around I would go out and see if I could locate and photo any of the damage the rockets caused in my neighborhood.  
 
A house about three blocks away from my home took such a hit, I could not believe the elderly man who lived there was home and actually survived.  A friend who lives a few houses down the street had her son's window blown out from the blast. I watched a video on Face Book since someone was videoing the rockets in the sky during the night and then I saw the explosion on video. I recognized the area was also not far from my home so I went in search of it.  A newly  finished restaurant will not open on time, since all the windows and glass in the doors shattered ,as the nearby rocket hit the ground. There was an apartment building that was hit where the only casualty took place. It was located  in another neighborhood not far from where we were doing our volunteer work with the teens.
 
One more rocket hit the ground between an apartment building and a single family house. It is amazing how all the windows in all the cars in the area were blown out as well as the windows in the apartment building. There was a lot of damage to the house, its fence and foundation.
 
Many of the towns south of us always have it worse and Sderot really absorbs a lot of rocket hits. While I was taking pictures of what happened during the night and the next morning many of the citizens of the south were protesting on the road where the trucks were still going into Gaza with supplies.    There were young people on the road to Sderot burning tires in protest.  Later that day the protesters from Ashkelon joined them by lining up on the highway that runs along the city.
 
For 8 months the south has received balloons with incinerary devices attached which have burned crops, and have caused turkeys farms to loose their birds from chocking. Beehives have burned, and national forests filled with wild life have been destroyed.I could go on and on about the destruction Hamas has caused in the south of Israel. It is destruction that hit far too close to home, causing damage all around me with the recent onslaught of 400 Hamas rockets in a 24 hour period.
 
 
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