A Palestinian rocket exploded right outside a Sderot supermarket on Wednesday evening, December 17, in one of the worst Qassam attacks on Sderot since the ceasefire began. Rocket shrapnel lightly wounded three people, with one man suffering a light head wound, according to a MADA spokesperson on scene.
Fire trucks and ambulances lined outside the supermarket as shattered glass littered the entire area. Nine people including three young women were evacuated to Barzilai hospital in Ashkelon for severe shock.
The Qassam rocket caused heavy damage to at least 15 cars in the parking lot where it had exploded. The smell of serious gas leaks had Sderot firemen hosing the entire parking lot with water in order to prevent any fire.
Inside the supermarket, known as Victory, wine bottles lay shattered upon the floor, as shoppers made their way outside across puddles of wine and broken glass. Rocket shrapnel caused heavy damage to store merchandise, as the glass windows in the supermarket’s front entrance completely shattered.
A worker at Steimetsky Book Store across the street from the supermarket told Sderot Media Center, that she and her co-worker watched the Qassam rocket drop into the parking lot, about five meters away from the supermarket. “We saw the sparks and the smoke, and watched the rocket explode on impact. It was one of the most terrifying sights, I’ve ever seen,” said the worker, a student at Sapir College, who asked not to be named.
Another Sderot local, Shani, who works as a cashier at the Victory supermarket, heard customers yelling Tzeva Adom, and moved away from her cash register seconds before the Qassam rocket hit the parking lot. “The glass exploded everywhere,” Shani told Sderot Media Center. “If I had been standing at the register, I would have been one of those injured in terror attack.”
Over 23 Qassam rockets were fired at Sderot and the western Negev. Seven rockets hit the Eshkol Regional Council earlier in the day, and a mortar shell landed in Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council, causing no reported damages or injuries. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for all the rocket attacks.
Since the ceasefire began on June 21, over 400 Qassam rockets have been fired at Sderot and the western Negev, making the number of rockets fired at Israel during this ceasefire significantly more than the number fired in the previous Hamas-Israel ceasefire in 2007. To date, over 10,000 Palestinian rockets have been fired at southern Israel since 2001.
Photo by Hamutal Ben-Sheetrit, Sderot Media Center