Monday, January 19, 2009

Ashkelon - "Operation Cast Lead" - Summary

Ceasefire. Today was the first day for three weeks that no rockets have hit the city of Ashkelon. Things are slowly returning to "normal". The city has been half empty for the last few weeks.
Yesterday, at 14:00 when the ceasefire was just being announced, one of the last rockets to hit Ashdod hit the yard of our hairdresser. He was lucky to be at work in Ashkelon when the Hamas rocket landed on his home in Ashdod.
His house was covered in hundreds of the tiny deadly metal balls and sharp bits of metal shrapnel that burst out of every exploded rocket. They broke every window and penetrated every wall and every piece of furniture, every closet and even the refrigerator. Everything was destroyed. He is now living in an Ashkelon hotel with his family until his home can be renovated. He considers himself lucky: "we are all healthy, none of us were hurt, and that is the most important thing, what do I care about my house?". Nicole
Some facts and figures from
"Operation Cast Lead" began on the 27th Dec 2008. For 22 days Tzahal struck back at Gaza and fought the Hamas. Not counting rockets before the Operation, during those 22 days, 95 rocket attack warning sirens were heard in Ashkelon. 122,000 residents went into shelters or safe spaces. Thousands of private businesses closed down for all or part of that time. During those 22 days more than 65 rockets hit the center of the city of Ashkelon. 18 of them scored direct hits on houses or property in Ashkelon and caused damage. 3 of them hit educational institutions.
As a result of the rockets that landed during those 22 days, one person was killed and 188 others were injured. Of those, 93 suffered from trauma, 22 were lightly injured and 3 suffered "medium" injuries. All the injured were treated at the Barzilai Medical Center along with hundreds of the injured from the surrounding areas.
Since the beginning of "Operation Cast Lead", all educational institutions in the city of Ashkelon were closed: 165 kindergartens, 31 primary schools, 15 high schools, and one college. 30,000 students were forced to stay home: 5,263 children of kindergarten age, 10,131 of primary school age, 9,427 of high school age, and 5,750 college students.
During this period many politicians visited Ashkelon. Among them were President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Min of Defence Ehud Barak, the Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg, Head of the opposition Benyamin Netanyahu, Meir Shitrit, Yuli Tamir, Eli Yishai, Matan Vilnai and more.

The remains of a Hamas grad rocket that hit a house in Ashkelon

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