A glimpse of life near the Gaza border: #IsraelUnderFire

I spent the day participating in a media tour of Sderot and other Israeli towns close to the border with Gaza.  

The day included a security briefing, several Code Red (Tzeva Adom) alerts, an unexpected view of the immediate aftermath of a rocket which landed in Sderot, a play by children at a local kibbutz and an analysis of the military situation with Col. Richard Kemp.

Here a brief account of my day via updates on Twitter and Facebook.

11:45

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11:48

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We then went to Sapir College, near Sderot.  All classes were cancelled due to rocket fire.  

We were listening to a presentation by an academic expert on the psychological trauma caused by terrorism when the Code Red alert sounded.

12:14

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The rocket landed in a neighborhood nearby, so our guides took us to the site of the blast.

12:42

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Fortunately, there were no injuries.

A boy whose home was right next to where the rocket landed displayed a bit of bravado and claimed a souvenir.

12:47

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A minute later there was another Code Red and we were able to get to a bomb shelter in a home near where we were standing.

Sderot residents have 15 seconds to get to safety once they hear the alert.

This was a tiny glimpse into the intolerable situation which residents of Israeli towns within close range of Gaza must deal with constantly.  

12:48

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We then toured Kibbutz Alumim and saw the children perform a play dramatizing how they deal with the constant threat of rocket fire, entitled ‘Code Red’. 

We then listened to a military assessment of Israel’s current operation by Col. Richard Kemp, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, who explained the extraordinary efforts of the IDF to avoid civilian casualties – resulting in a civilian to combatant ratio in Cast Lead, and Pillar of Defense, far superior to recent NATO operations.

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Finally, we took a brief detour to get a glimpse at an Israeli tank stationed near the Gaza border.

More than 1200 rockets have been launched at Israeli towns since November 10, and over 12,800 since 2001.

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