Monday, July 17, 2006

Northern Towns Under Attack, Building Collapses in Haifa

by Hana Levi Julian and Ezra HaLevi

Hizbullah terrorists fired long-range rockets at Israeli communities Sunday night and Monday, striking Haifa once more and causing a 3-story building to collapse, injuring one person seriously.

A volley of Katyushas fell on the city of Haifa at 2:15 PM Monday. A three-story building suffered a direct hit, collapsing as a result. Two people were injured moderately and one seriously. They were evacuated to Haifa's Rambam and B'nei Zion hospitals.

Rescue workers searched for additional people under the rubble and determined that most residents had not been home at the time of impact.

Channel 2 television was broadcasting live from the city as the warning sirens sounded. When the sound of impact was heard, the cameraman showed the exact site of impact before the anchor pulled the live feed in compliance with orders from the IDF Home Front Command (see below).

Two volleys of rockets struck northern towns earlier Monday, around 9 AM and again at 1:30 PM. Katyushas hit Kiryat Shmona, Tzfat, Carmiel, Ramot, Givat Yoav, Acco, Tiberias, Talal, Julis, Abu Snan and Kafr Yassif. Thirteen IDF soldiers were hospitalized in Nahariya due to smoke inhalation from a missile's impact. Nine civilians suffered light injuries - five of them shock.

In Acco, a rocket hit a building, collapsing three floors of - but the sleeping couple there escaped unscathed.

Another large building was struck in Tzfat, though the residents were not at home.

The southern Golan Heights were also struck for the first time since the beginning of the Reengagement War on the northern border and Gaza.

Rocket attacks rained down on the city of Afula late Sunday night, in addition to neighboring Jezreel Valley towns of Migdal Ha’Emek, Upper Nazareth and Givat Ela.

It was the first time that rockets fired from south Lebanon reached the 50 kilometer (31-mile) mark. It came less than a day after eight people were killed in a similar barrage in the port city of Haifa.

In that attack, the city’s train depot was hit, with at least 17 workers and many others injured by the Iranian-made missiles packed with ball-bearings. Security officials noted as well that some of the parts found in the rocket's remains had been made in Syria.

A total of 53 people were injured in the city’s surrounding areas since the first rocket attack on Haifa on Friday.

IDF officials said Sunday that Hizbullah has amassed well over 10,000 rockets of various sizes and ranges over the past several years since IDF forces pulled out of south Lebanon.

More than 1,200 rockets have been fired at Israel by Hizbullah terrorists in south Lebanon since the beginning of the Reengagement War at the northern front last week.

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