A warning siren blares out across the Israeli city of Sderot. Seconds later, a deafening explosion erupts as a rocket lands just metres away.
"That's a Qassam rocket that landed 15 metres from us. We're lucky, it could have hit us,” says one of a group of men who had been watching Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, just 2km from Sderot, when the rocket hit.
“People overseas should understand this is how we live here,” he says. “They've never seen anything like it and, if they had, they'd demand their government destroy those responsible."
With the Palestinian enclave so close, Sderot is a constant target for rockets fired by Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza. Some 2,322 Qassams – a class of rocket developed and commonly used by Hamas’s armed wing – have been launched towards Sderot since late 2012, according to city authorities.
As rocket fire has intensified in recent weeks, Sderot’s residents have taken extra precautions to stay safe.
"We hardly ever leave the house because of the security situation,” says a woman, who has come with her children to the city’s specially built play centre, designed to protect against incoming rockets.
Like most Israelis, the town's mayor Alon Davidi is behind the country's military. His message for those in charge of Gaza: the rockets have to stop.
"For 10 years there have been 10,000 in this area. It's not just the Qassams that land in the town but the alarm system, the pressure,” he says.
“We don't want to be in this situation but Hamas continue the violence and continue to bring it to this area."
Date created : 2014-07-30