By R. Blum
Hundreds of terrorized Israeli children recited psalms as they cowered under their desks on Wednesday morning, when a rocket fired from Gaza landed near their school, the Hebrew news site nrg reported.
According to the report, the rocket exploded in a residential neighborhood in the southern city of Sderot — and the only lucky thing about the otherwise traumatic incident was that it occurred just after the kids had returned to their classrooms following their 10 am snack break. In addition, nrg said, the children were well-versed in what to do in the event of such an attack, as they had undergone regular drills in their school, whose walls are fortified.
In the immediate aftermath of the rocket attack — which caused damage to buildings and cars in the vicinity, and sent a number of people to the nearby hospital to be treated for shock — educational psychologists went from room to room and spoke to the children about what had just happened. Some parents came to take their kids home before the end of the school day, the first after Rosh Hashanah.
One fourth-grader said, “Everyone was nervous. We all said the Shema prayer [‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one’].”
A mother whose three children all attend the school said, “It’s a routine that repeats itself, and each time it is difficult. I work outside of the city, and I immediately phoned to make sure everyone was all right.”
Her daughter, in sixth grade, recounted the terrifying moments of the attack. “I didn’t hear the siren,” she said. “Only a loud boom. I was really worried about my younger siblings. After that, we went outside and smelled burning. We were told that a Qassam had fallen next to the school.”
Another parent told nrg that her two kids called her up and were crying hysterically, but she had trouble getting to the school quickly, due to the traffic and many security vehicles.
One adult resident of Sderot, whose window exploded from the impact of the explosion, said he had been asleep at the time of the attack and therefore didn’t make it to the bomb shelter in time. “I lay on the floor, and then heard the very loud whistle of the rocket flying, and then it struck.”
The neighborhood is now attempting to return to its daily routine, nrg said, but residents — who have been through this many times before — are under no illusions about life going on in a normal fashion as long as attacks from Gaza loom.
In response to the rocket attack — in which a Qassam hit approximately 100 meters (329 feet) from the school and close to the home of Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi, the IDF retaliated by attacking targets in Gaza.
The head of Israel’s office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said the terrorist group claimed the fire from Gaza was part of the ongoing jihad against the Jews, as well as a response to Thursday’s arrest by Hamas of four Salafist operatives in Rafah and another one in Gaza a few days later.
This was the latest rocket attack in what has become sporadic fire from the Gaza Strip since the end of Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s war against Hamas in the summer of 2014. The previous incident of this nature occurred on August 21.
Watch the rocket strike below: