Two Kassam rockets were fired at the city of Sderot Saturday evening just as the holiday celebrations of Simchat Torah (Hakafot) were coming to a close. Residents left the area and took shelter. No injuries or damage was reported.
The event, marking the beginning of the Torah readings for the New Year, was attended by about 1,000 residents of Sderot who were forced to return to take shelter as sirens were heard across the town.
Both rockets fell in an open area and did not cause any damage or injuries. The event was heavily guarded by attack helicopters that were seen hovering over Gaza for the duration of the celebration.
Mayor of Sderot Eli Moyal said that “We were quite fearful (ahead of the event), but this rocket fire will not deter us.”
“We are not afraid of the Kassams; they will not break us and we will continue to celebrate,” the mayor added.
But despite the increased security of the event, some residents were upset that it was only done as a one-time measure. “This only proves that if the army wants to it can prevent the rocket attacks,” one resident said. “Why should this activity not be carried out all the time?”
Over the past weeks much criticism has been directed towards the army and the government for not doing enough to stop the rocket attacks coming from Gaza into the towns and communities of the western Negev.
Last Thursday, just as citizens and religious groups in Sderot were about to begin celebrating the beginning of Simchat Torah, two Kassam rockets fell in a central square in the city causing blackouts in several parts of town. The residents took to the streets and began a spontaneous protest against the government’s alleged ineptitude in dealing with the Kassam attacks.