Schools closed after rockets hit Israel

Sunday, September 09, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

Schools across southern Israel were closed Sunday morning after missiles fired by Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists hit two homes and wounded seven people Saturday night.

Shortly after midnight, the first Grad missile landed just outside the southern city of Beersheva, causing no injuries or damage. Not long after, a second Grad slammed into the nearby town of Netivot, heavily damaging two homes.

Three people were lightly injured while running for their bomb shelter, and another four were treated for severe shock.

Among those treated was Pinni Azoulai, whose house was completely destroyed by the missile. Azoulai heard the early warning siren just in time to hide in is bathroom, one of the only rooms in the house to not collapse when the missile struck. "This was a miracle," Azoulai later told Israeli media.

Explaining his decision to close schools in the area, Beersheva Mayor Ruvik Danilovich told Army Radio: "Since many of the schools are unprotected and we have experienced hits on our education institutions in the past, I made the decision after consulting with defense establishment officials. 40,000 children will remain at home today because of the attack that hit us out of the blue."

Rocket attacks against southern Israel have been intensifying over the past two weeks, and in response Israel has been launching more strikes against terrorist targets in Gaza.

"We've had enough of living in fear," a Beersheva resident told Israel's Ynet news portal after Saturday night's attack.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently warned that if the situation does not calm down, Israel may retake Gaza, which it surrendered to full Palestinian rule seven years ago.

"If the cabinet orders the IDF to conquer and control Gaza, this is something that is possible today," Barak told a conference at the Fisher Brothers Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies.

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