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Saturday, July 15, 2006

One minute's warning

The IDF announced tonight that people living south of Haifa will have a one-minute siren to warn them before Katyusha rockets hit their areas. Those from Haifa and northwards are supposed to stay close to home or in shelters and not go to work tomorrow.

Those orders came from the head of the IDF home front command Yitzchak Gershon.

Earlier today, two Katyusha rockets hit Tiberias. One of them scored a direct hit on an apartment building; fortunately the people whose apartment was hit were abroad when it happened. The other hit a soccer stadium. Six people were lightly wounded by shrapnel.

A child and his grandmother were killed last night when a Katyusha hit a home in Moshav Meron. The victims of the strike were named as Yehudit Itzkovich, 57, and her seven-year-old grandson Omer Pashov. The grandson lived in Nahariya. Four other people were wounded in that attack.

Early today, dozens of rockets were launched, landing in Nahariya, Safed, Moshav Meron and the northern Golan Heights, causing no casualties or damage.

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said Friday that Hezbollah has rockets with a range of up to 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) or more, an admission that brings more major cities within their range, including possibly Hadera and Netanya. This would mean that Hezbollah has rockets that could reach within 20 to 30 kilometers of Tel Aviv. Soon this will be in AllofOurBackYards. (For those of you who just started reading my blog this week, do a search for NotInMyBackYard and you will understand the reference).

Dozens of people were injured throughout the day Friday, as Katyusha rockets landed in the Galilee. There were injuries reported in Nahariya, Yesod Hama'alah, Kfar Szold, Kibbutz Hulata, Safed, Peki'in and Hatzor Haglilit. Kiryat Shmona was also hit on Friday, but no casualties were reported.

The IDF also deployed Patriot missile batteries somewhere around Haifa today, for the first time since the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

The missile defense system cannot destroy Katyusha rockets - hundreds of which have been fired at Israel from Lebanon in recent days - but could protect against surface-to-surface missiles, such as those possessed by Syria, the army said. That's a very significant statement and I'll talk about it some more on the flip side of this post, when I talk about some of the targets that were hit today.


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