Residents of the Israeli city Sderot in the south of the country were awakened at 1:30 am this morning, the Sabbath, by the sound of a rocket crashing into Hativat Hanegev Street in an Orthodox neighborhood in the city. Five vehicles that were parked on the street were damaged, and two of them caught fire. Fortunately no injuries, but that's not the intention of the terrorists.
"There was a lot of commotion; firefighters, police and Magen David Adom paramedics arrived at the scene," said Nikolai Avramov, whose car was damaged in the attack. "The children are used to the noise, but the nighttime attack was harder on them."Additional rockets later today (Saturday) landed in an open field near a kibbutz in the Negev; no injuries or damage were reported.
"We haven't before seen such damage caused by a Qassam," said Moshe Omer, spokesman for the Lachish region fire department.
"The 'Color Red' alert system is rarely activated during the night, so when it did I headed out to the scene of the attack," photographer Or Tal told Ynet. "It was frightening – three burning cars and people panicking."
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist organization claimed responsibility for today's rocket attacks. As a timely reminder, this is one of the terror groups connected to the Fatah political party of Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority. (That's him on the shoulders of a terrorist leader in a December 2004 photo, surrounded by Al-Aqsa terrorists and their supporters.) According to Palestinian officials, most of the Brigades' members are on the payroll of the Palestinian Authority, serving in the Brigades and also in one or another of the Palestinian Authority's fourteen security services.
When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged the Arabs last year to "wipe [Israel] off the map," the Al-Aqsa group issued a statement saying that they "hold identification with and overall support of the position and declaration of the Iranian president, who called with all honesty to wipe Israel off the map of the world". The same statement said "We stress our support of the Iranian president's position toward the fictitious Zionist state, which will disappear with the help of Allah."
Readers in search of a 'kinder, gentler' portrait of Al-Aqsa can find it in an Associated Press profile ("Humanizing the Unhuman") linked here.