Israelis Talk of Fears as Rockets Force Them into Bomb Shelters

Jerusalem, July 17 - Residents of southern Israel were sent back into bomb shelters this weekend as Gaza’s terrorists stepped up their rocket launchings. Close to 20 were fired at Israeli civilians from Gaza over the past week – totaling 348 this year alone.

The rocket fire has lasting physical and psychological effects on residents.

“We moved away to Moshav Gaya [a small village that is home to some 300 residents, located outside Ashkelon in southern Israel] because I wanted to feel more secure, even if the security is just in my thoughts. The moshav I live in has houses very spread out, so maybe the chances of being hit by a rocket are smaller” Dorit, a mother of two children, told The Israel Project on Sunday.

“My son, Ori, is seven and he is seeing a psychologist for anxiety attacks. I mean, he was so young when things were really bad and this has influenced him.

“I’m seeing a specialist too. I have a newborn baby to take care of, and I need to take care of myself and my children,” Dorit added.

Michal Shaban, spokeswoman of Shaar haNegev regional council that borders Gaza, said residents were bombarded over the past few days.

“We had a few weeks of quiet, but to our dismay the emergency situation has returned. All day it’s a case noise, sirens and fear,” Shaban said.

“As civilians, we fight for quiet and for a return to routine. But at the same time, we prepare for every possibility, and unfortunately, the emergency situation continues each day,” added Shaban.

“The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement last week. Hamas, which is funded, trained and armed by Iran, has not prevented the terror groups from launching the rockets at Israel.

Hamas may be trying to test the IDF’s response policy.

The IDF has used pinpointed response tactics to target terrorists and their infrastructure.

“In the past weeks the army's policy has been to strike targets in the strip in response to each rocket fired at Israel, avoiding a large-scale operation,” explained Israel’s YNet News.

Seven people were reportedly wounded during the retaliatory airstrikes over the weekend.

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