The Sderot Media Center has reported on their facebook page that last night sirens were sounded in the Eshkol Regional Council (located in southern Israel near the city of Ashkelon) “followed by 2 explosions of mortar bombs fired from Hamas controlled Gaza.” While the rocket did land in an open area, the code red siren went off shortly before 1:00am, thus disturbing the sleep of the residents of the Eshkol Regional Council area. The Iron Dome had detected the rockets, yet did not intercept them.

The Sderot Media Center claims that this was merely two of 40 rockets that have been fired towards Israel since the cease-fire that ended Operation Pillar of Defense went into effect. Last Thursday evening, rockets were also fired towards Eshkol from Hamas-controlled Gaza, landing in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council. There were also no reports of injuries or damage, although it still nevertheless was a cease-fire violation.

In addition, two rockets were fired into the coastal city of Eilat on Wednesday. Those rockets had originated from the Sinai Peninsula and a number of Israelis were treated for shock following the Eilat attack. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu believes that the Hamas movement was also responsible for the Eilat terror attack, even though the Mujahideed Shura Council of Jerusalem took responsibility for that rocket attack.

Addressing Israel’s regional threats, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon proclaimed, “Hamas are armed with tens of thousands of various rockets and missiles, which they will launch at our cities and citizens when ordered to do so. Even now and despite the achievements of Bashar Al Assad’s regime in Syria, it is ready to confront Israel and will be backed by Iran and Syria. We see Hamas as responsible for anything fired from Gaza at Israel.”

He continued, “We will not allow in any way a return to the routine of sporadic rocket attacks on our citizens and forces. In the Golan Heights, too, our policy is that we have no intention of ignoring fire from Syria into Israeli territory, whether intentional or not. We will respond decisively. The moment we identify the source of fire we will destroy it without hesitation.”

The firing of rockets into Israeli cities has an adverse effect on the Israeli civilians living there, even when the rockets land in open areas without causing injuries or damage. A study conducted by Ben-Gurion University found that increased rocket attacks in Sderot between 2004 and 2008 caused an increase in the number of Sderot women suffering from miscarriages. According to the Sderot Media Center, “women in Sderot exposed to the stress of alarms or actual rocket fire had higher rates of miscarriage than women in Kiryat Gat who did not suffer from that kind of stress (6.9% verses 4.7%). The perceived stress level among Sderot women was also higher, with the exposed group scoring 4.36 on the stress questionnaire and the unexposed group 3.05.” This is just one example of how living under a constant barrage of rocket fire adversely affects the health of people living under fire. Other studies have demonstrated that almost half of Sderot’s preteens suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

By Rachel Avraham