Israel under fire: Schools closed in south due to rockets

Sunday, March 11, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

Some 200,000 Israeli children throughout southern Israel spent Sunday hiding in bomb shelters instead of going to school as Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists continued pouring missiles and mortars into the area.

By midday Sunday, some 130 projectiles had been fired at communities across the western Negev region over a 48-hour period. At least two dozen Israelis have been injured, some seriously.

Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system has managed to intercept 28 out of 31 of the more dangerous Grad-type missiles, but simply cannot provide a comprehensive shield against such an onslaught.

Deputy Mayor Heftzi Zohar of the large Negev city of Beersheva told The Jerusalem Post that the situation is unbearable, especially for children "who are living under terror."

The attacks began on Friday afternoon when a handful of mortars were fired into southern Israel. Hours later, Israeli aircraft destroyed a vehicle in Gaza that was carrying two terrorist commanders. One was Popular Resistance Committee operative Zuhir Mussah Ahmed Kaisi, who intelligence had discovered was planning another major cross-border infiltration from the Egyptian Sinai into the Eilat area of southern Israel. Kaisi had also previously boasted of being responsible for the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Palestinian rocket attacks intensified significantly. Israeli responded with targeted air strikes that managed to kill 15 terrorists, some as they were preparing further rocket launches. Army sources told Voice of Israel that the military has ruled out a ground incursion into Gaza at this time, though even IDF chief Gen. Benny Gantz admits it is only a matter of time before such an operation becomes necessary.

Despite the ongoing attacks, the Israeli army ordered the two main border crossings with Gaza to remain open to allow a regular flow of Gazans into Israel and humanitarian aid into Gaza.

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