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Inside Israel: Mirror man experiences daily life under rocket attack
This is from the British tabloid the Mirror, which, showing my age, I still call the Daily Mirror.
The Maman family had not long eaten breakfast when loud-speakers echoed across the street into their modest home.
An authoritative Hebrew male voice yelled “Tzeva Adom” (Code Red) – the signal to take cover.
Avi Maman tried to rush his brood into a makeshift bomb shelter by the house. Then Boom.
A crude homemade Qassam rocket exploded and tore off the roof, sending deadly shrapnel and ceramic tiles flying.
Welcome to Sderot – a tiny Israeli town gripped with fear just three miles from the border with Hamas-controlled Gaza – where yesterday rockets and mortars kept striking deep inside the built-up areas.
But this is commonplace. The 20,000 residents are forced to cower daily in bomb shelters.
People out shopping, in cars or chatting to friends take cover when the 15-second alert sounds.
Sometimes it’s not enough. Three civilians and a soldier have been killed since the new attacks started on Saturday.
So the people here are definitely not joining in the wave of condemnation at Israel’s own offensive against Hamas. For them, the airstrikes provide a glimmer of hope that the misery of their lives can be lifted.
Sderot has been pounded with thousands of projectiles since 2001. Rockets have killed eight, injured hundreds more and made daily life unbearable.
Mayor David Buskila said his citizens were still scared, but mostly overjoyed that something was being done. “We felt abandoned for so long, that our despair was ignored. We felt like we weren’t even a part of Israel,” he said. “Now we feel like the army is actively protecting us.”
Our guide then took us to Sderot police station, where we found chilling reminders of the hundreds of attacks that have blighted this town for ages.
Row after row of spent rockets sit on racks, marked with the date and name of the disposal expert who dismantled it.
These homemade devices are literally thrown together by Hamas militants using old pipes and scrap metal and a crude fertilizer based explosive.
But they can inflict serious damage to life and property. Which is why townsfolk have a total lack of sympathy for the pummelled Palestinian civilians on the other side of the Gaza border fence.
Prime Minister’s spokesman Mark Regev told the Mirror that their operation was vital to protect Israel’s people.
Under the constant threat of Hamas rockets and mortars, the frightened citizens of Sderot at least are not arguing.