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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Kassam attack on IDF training camp; IDF hits launchers

At least 66 IDF soldiers were wounded around 1:30 this morning when a Kassam rocket hit a basic training base in Zikim in the western Negev. Most of those injured were lightly to 'moderately' hurt and are hospitalized in Barzilay Hospital in Ashkelon. Nine soldiers who were more seriously wounded have been transferred to hospitals in Jerusalem and in the center of the country. (Picture of evacuation at top left). I have an unconfirmed report - which has not been confirmed in the mainstream media - that claims that one soldier has died. The IAF is now attacking Kassam launchers (the physical launchers and not the terrorists that launch the rockets) in the northern Gaza Strip in response. That'll teach 'em.

According to the Jerusalem Post, two 'Palestinian' terror groups have claimed responsibility for the attack - the Nasr Salah al-Din Brigades, the Palestinian Resistance Committee's 'armed wing,' and the Islamic Jihad. A spokesman for the Islamic Jihad said the firing of the Kassam rockets was a response to IDF action in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip of late.

YNet has more details:
This is the largest number of casualties to date resulting from a single Qassam attack.

Three rockets were launched at around 1:30 am, from the area of the Palestinian town of Beit Hanoun. Two of the rockets landed in open areas, but one landed in the Zikkim base, about 1 kilometer north of the Gaza Strip, next to a tent containing several soldiers from a battalion in basic training.

Two of the casualties were seriously injured, nine were moderately injured and 30 were lightly injured. The wounded, along with their battalion members, were scheduled to complete basic training mere hours after the attack took place.

Magen David Adom reported sending 20 ambulances and two support helicopters to the scene. Casualties were treated at the scene and then transferred to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba, and Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. In total, 65 soldiers arrived at the hospitals, some to be treated for shock.

IDF sources told Ynet that there were serious consequences as a result of a direct hit. "Sometimes there are direct hits, and then there are many casualties. That's what happened this time." [Imagine if there had been a direct hit on a Kindergarten, God forbid. CiJ]

The tent that sustained the direct hit served as a makeshift meal tent and contained a number of soldiers at the time of impact. Several soldiers in an adjacent sleeping tent were injured from shrapnel and the force of the blast. Despite the rocket threat on the region, it had been decided at the beginning of training that the new recruits would continue sleeping in tents. [By whom? CiJ]
This is not the first time that the Zikim camp has been hit by Kassams.
IDF forces in the area identified only one rocket when it was launched, which landed in a Gaza vicinity community near the base. The area where the rockets landed has formerly been the target of several rocket attacks and, consequently, fortification projects were being undertaken in the region.

In December 2005, the Zikkim base itself sustained a rocket attack. As a result of intense parental pressure, the military decided to build fortifications on base, including cement walls surrounding the tent compound.

While it was decided not to fully fortify each tent, military sources stated they believe the structures prevented a much larger catastrophe from occurring.
At least they're consistent. The government hasn't fortified most of the schools in Sderot either because it's 'too expensive.'

YNet also reports that there was panic on the base:
Nonetheless, Yosi Namir, a Zaka member who was one of the first to arrive on the scene, described the events as "truly severe... The rocket had landed on a tent. Many of the soldiers on base were sleeping at the time, which increased the panic. We assisted MDA in helping the wounded. Everything is a mess, soldiers shouting, calling for help."

Orr, a medic on the base told Ynet: "We heard the 'Color Red' warning system. I ran towards the tents. There was complete hysteria… I think some of the people didn't realize what was happening. You need to remember, these were not seasoned soldiers."

Zikkim base is connected to the 'Color Red' alert system, but the time gap between the sirens and Tuesday's rocket hit was only a few seconds, such that the soldiers, most of who were sleeping, did not have time to protect themselves.
There's going to be a lot of noise from certain government ministers who are going to want the government to target Islamic Jihad leaders from the air. I doubt they will win out except for isolated actions here and there. And there won't be a real military action on the ground to push the 'Palestinians' back from the border. The only thing that will bring that is - God forbid - an attack on civilians with several (probably ten or more) killed. Aliza doesn't want an attack on the 'Palestinians.' And Ehud K. Olmert doesn't do anything Aliza doesn't want.

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