Statistics to January 2008
(Adapted from document supplied by Sderot Media Center www.sderotmedia.com/† )
Background on Qassam Rocket Fire against Sderot and the Western Negev
†Massive rocket fire against Sderot and the Western Negev commenced in January 2001, and has caused significant damage to homes and property, while injuring 433 Israeli residents and traumatizing thousands of adults and children.
22 people have been killed in the Western Negev region by the rocket attacks, including 9 residents of Sderot, three of whom were children.
†Qassam rocket fire poses a major threat to Israel from Palestinian terrorist organizations who are based in Gaza. As of January †2008, over 8,000 rockets have been launched at Sderot and the Western Negev.††
The Qassam Rocket
The Qassam-class, or Kassam, short-range missile was developed by the Hamas terrorist organization with the aid of Iran, Hizballah, and the Palestinian Authority, while Egypt has played. a role in its facilitation of arms and munitions imports.
†The Qassam, which can reach up to 20 km, is fueled by a mixture of potassium nitrate and sugar (solid propellant). Qassam missiles are manufactured and deployed primarily in the Gaza Strip; however, the IDF has seized Qassam missiles in Palestinian areas of the West Bank.
†Palestinian terror groups prefer to use Qassam rockets as means of terrorizing Israelis because these †rockets are easy to manufacture, their components are cheap and readily available, and it is simple to transport and operate them. Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip use elementary technology to produce †large quantities of rockets, which give them the ability to attack the Israeli populace in the western Negev at any time, with the IDF unable to effectively respond. Because the rockets are small, Israeli officials have had difficulty shutting down its production. The IDF notes that 97% of the Qassam rockets are launched from civilian areas in Gaza, which† limits the IDF response to the terrorists as civilians surround rocket launching pads.
†Different models of Qassam rockets have been developed and launched in the past seven years.
†( see also
Qassam rocket property damage
Between 2001 and November 2007, more than 2,500 mortar shells were fired. Their short range made them effective before the disengagement, especially when they were aimed at the IDF forces which operated in the Gaza Strip and at the Israeli settlements there. In the absence of Israeli targets after the disengagement there was a sharp decrease in the number of rockets fired.†
Since April 2007 the terrorist organizations have begun to make greater use of mortar shells, especially Hamas, which does not directly participate in rocket fire. In recent months the fire has been aimed at IDF forces operating in the Gaza Strip and along the security fence, at the crossings (especially Kerem Shalom) and at the Israeli communities close to the security fence, such as Netiv Ha'asara, Kibbutz Kerem Shalom and Kibbutz Nahal Oz . †
Although more rare, Katuysha rockets are occasionally fired from Gaza. Because the Katuysha rocket is much more advanced both in distance and design, Katuyshas have reached heavily populated Israeli cities like Ashkelon. Three Iranian-produced, 122mm Grad Katuysha rockets launched from Gaza have landed in both industrial and populated areas of Ashkelon in January 2008.
Palestinian Terror Groups in Gaza
†Hamas: Produces the Qassam rocket (models 1, 2, 3), and is named after the terrorist organization's armed wing. Since Hamas's takeover of Gaza in mid-June 2007 to December 2007, there have been 475 missiles and 635 mortar shells launched at Israeli cities. Hamas rockets are identified by their red and green coloring.
†Palestinian Islamic Jihad: Islamic Jihad is affiliated with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and is believed to be funded by Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. The armed wing of Islamic Jihad, the Al-Quds brigade fires Al-Quds rockets at Sderot and the Western Negev on a frequent basis. The Al-Quds rockets are identified by their red and yellow coloring.
†Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades: An armed military wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade frequently carries out rocket launches against Israel. In February 2008, the terrorist faction carried out a bombing attack in Dimona, in southern Israel. The Al-Aqsa rockets are identified by their yellow coloring with Arabic writing.† The U.S. State department identifies Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades as a terrorist organization.†
Impact of Rocket Fire on Israeli Cities: Sderot and the Western Negev
The Qassam rocket fire has had a terrible impact on the Western Negev region, especially on the city of Sderot. The city's population once numbered 24, 000 people. Today the population has fallen to an estimated 19,500, as over 4,000 residents have left. The following areas in Sderot have been considerably impacted by the seven years of rocket fire.
†SECURITY:† Security in and around Sderot has been greatly affected. Because Sderot lies 2.5 kilometers (about one mile) away from the Western Negev, the city bears most of the brunt from the rocket hits. Since Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, Arab terrorists have increased the attacks, firing over 2500 Qassam rockets. Sderot and the western Negev today experiences on average three Qassam rocket attacks per day. During the last two weeks in the month of May 2007 during the supposed ceasefire, close to 300 Qassam rockets were fired on the town of Sderot.
The Israeli government has installed a radar system or "red alert alarm" in an attempt to alert Israelis to possible shellings, though it does not sound on cold or rainy days when the radar cannot detect the rocket launches.† In addition, the siren system cannot detect the launching of mortar shells. Once the rocket is launched from Gaza and the siren sounds, Sderot residents have 15 seconds to escape to a bomb shelter. In the year 2007 alone, 2000 Qassams were launched from Gaza to Sderot and the western Negev according to an IDF spokesman.
MENTAL HEALTH: The mental health of Sderot residents has severely deteriorated over the past seven years as each rocket attack results in psychological turmoil. In the past year and a half more than 1,600 instances of stress were reported. Approximately 70% of Sderot residents suffer from signs of post traumatic stress disorder which include extreme stress and anxiety. According to a recent Natal report, between 70% to 94% of Sderot children show symptoms of PTSD. The Natal study found 28 percent of adults and 30 percent of children in Sderot actually have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Approximately 3000 patient files have been opened in the Sderot Mental Health Center due to the rocket fire environment.† In the year 2007 alone, 1,117 trauma victim files were opened, up significantly from 2006. Anxiety symptoms among children often include sleeping difficulties, nightmares, sweating, development regressions, wetting beds, and fear of the outside. There are only 4 psychologists on call in Sderot. Therefore, many Sderot trauma victims do not receive the proper, if any, psychological therapy and care.
†EDUCATION: †The education in Sderot has been severely affected by the rocket attacks. Only 4 schools in Sderot offer complete buffer protection for students from rocket attacks. About 60% of the schools in Sderot do not have complete protection or buffers for their classrooms . In the past year, 1,100 kids have switched to schools outside of Sderot. Children in Sderot suffer from severe hyperactivity and have difficulty focusing in class. Grades on exams and tests have dropped, while aggressive behavior among students in class has increased. Only 56.5% of 12th grade students in Sderot received their matriculation certificates in 2001, as half the students failed due to the current state of rocket fire.
ECONOMY: Real estate and small businesses have suffered most from the rocket fire. According to Yakov Levy, a Sderot realtor, prices of homes have fallen by 50%. Housing prices were nearly double in 2000 before the rocket fire began. Between 20 to 30 percent of businesses in Sderot and surrounding areas have shut down since the rocket terror. Sales at stores in general have dropped by nearly 50 percent. During the intense rocket fire of May 2007, 350 small businesses were forced to close down. In January 2008, Hollandia, a major international mattress factory, employing close to 100 local residents in and around Sderot, has been forced to shut the factory in Sderot and relocate to central Israel because of the rocket fire.
The state of Israel has ruled that Sderot is not a war-zone area and therefore businesses and buildings damaged by rockets do not receive immediate payments for damages, but retroactive payments only.
†The Increasing Threat
Approximately 45, 000 residents in the Western Negev, which include Sderot and other numerous kibbutzim and moshavim, have been living under daily rocket terror. The number of Israelis who will live under rocket threat has increased to 250,000 according to Internal Security Minister, Avi Dichter in December 2007.† Heavily populated cities like Ashkelon, Netivot, Ofakim and the inland city of Kiryat Gat will all be subject to rocket attack, once Palestinian terror groups begin launching long-range Katuysha rockets. †
Qassam Rocket Statistics - 2006
Read about the victims:
Yuval Abebah, age 4 Sderot
Ella Abukasis, age 17, Sderot
Dana Galkowitz, Age 22, Kibbutz Bror Hayil (Killed in Netiv Haasarah)
Mordehai Yosepov, Age 49, Sderot
Afik Zahavi (Ohayun) age 4 Sderot
If these were your children, what would you expect your government to do???
Decent people demand justice for Sderot!
Story here - The real victims
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