Israel’s southern cities closed schools to 200,000 students for the third straight day as Gaza terrorists break several hours of “calm.”
Be’er Sheva, Ashdod. Kiryat Gat, Ashkelon, Gan Yavne and Sderot, along with the Be’er Sheva suburb of Omer, declared Monday night that classrooms would remain empty. Kibbutz Hatzerim, five miles east of Be’er Sheva, also closed its school.
Universities and colleges remain open.
Be’er Sheva Mayor Ruvic Danilovich said the decision to close schools was made out of responsiblity to all citizens. The Iron Dome system intercepted a rocket headed for the city Monday evening, but the mayor said officials could not totally rely on the system to protect the city.
Technical problems prevented the Iron Dome from operating on Saturday, when Gaza terrorists battered urban centers in the south with missiles, one of which killed a man in Ashkelon.
Monday night, rockets exploded in Sderot and the Sdot Negev Regional Council near Gaza, as well as the one intended for Be’er Sheva. No one was injured.
More than 45 mortars and rockets were fired over the past three days at southern Israeli communities with a population of more than half a million people. Schools and a synagogue were hit, but all of them were vacant because of the Jewish Sabbath.
Egypt convinced Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organizations to announce a ceasefire Sunday morning, but it held for only four hours.
Another period of calm, which perhaps was an unannounced ceasefire, ended Monday evening.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that any ceasefire will be measured by actions and not words.
The IDF estimated on Sunday that the missile attacks would subside, particularly in light of the immediate response of the Air Force. Its use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has proven highly successful in allowing it to target terrorist cells even before they are able to launch rockets.
However, despite the elimination of more than a dozen terrorists the past four days, others apparently are more than willing to try to fire missiles at Israelis and take the high risk of an aerial bombing on their launch site.