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Rocket Explodes in Heart of Ashkelon

July 30, 2010
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“We heard the loud explosion only after we came out. The entire building trembled, windows were shattered, and the shutters were damaged. “When we went downstairs, we saw that our two cars were completely damaged and their windows were shattered. It was very scary; we thought the entire building was going to collapse.”  

Nechama Carmi, who lives in the same building, was washing her car when she heard the siren. “I ran into the stairwell and waited there. When I came out I heard the loudest explosion I've heard since Operation Cast Lead. It was very strong and terrifying.”  

Ilana Asulin, another neighbor, was cooking the Shabbat meal. “I shut the stove, we went into the fortified room and then we heard a very loud explosion.”  

Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin, who arrived at the landing site, said that “this is a very serious incident, the worst since Operation Cast Lead. There is no doubt that such a hit inside the city is an escalation.” 

Teddy, a local resident, told Ynet the rocket landed not far from his house. “We grabbed the baby and ran into the fortified room. There was a loud explosion.”  

Matan Tshuva, 18, said that after hearing the air raid siren, “we went down two floors according to the Home Front Command's orders. We have no fortified room…We heard the explosion only after we got back into the house, about 30 seconds after the siren. I went to the window to see what it was and saw a cloud of black smoke behind a building facing the sea. I called the firefighters' department and informed them of the location. They got there immediately. There was a lot of pressure,” he added.  

“We are becoming like Sderot,” Tshuva added. “There they suffered much more, but we are also hit occasionally.”  

Friday's rocket was fired on the backdrop of attempts to launch direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The Hamas movement issued a statement on Thursday criticizing the Arab nations' support for the resumption of direct talks, maintaining that direct talks would only lead to “to more Palestinian suffering as Israel goes on constructing settlements.” 

Posted on July 30, 2010

Source: (Excerpts of an article by Shmulik Hadad, Ynetnews, July 30, 2010; Hanan Greenberg and Liron Sinay contributed to this report)

Photo Credit: Isranet

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