On the ground in Israel

The city of Nahariya, in northern Israel, is ghostly quiet.

Fifteen rockets hit Nahariya in northern Israel on Thursday
Fifteen rockets hit Nahariya in northern Israel on Thursday

Just a few kilometres south of the Lebanese border, Nahariya was hit by 15 Katyusha rockets on Thursday, leaving one woman dead and dozens more injured.

Some of Nahariya’s 57,000 residents have left their homes, heading south. The remainder have been advised to stay in underground shelters.

But some residents remain on the streets.

A few doors away from the shop where a missile fell on Thursday morning, the Winner cafe is open as usual and a crowd of men are drinking coffee and buying lottery tickets.

Baruch Meir, the 53-year old proprietor, explains how he rescued his friend from a rocket attack on Ga’aton Boulevard, the city’s main street.

“As soon as I got to the street, the Katyusha exploded,” he says.

The rocket landed in Cafe Carter, a coffee grinding shop.

“I went to the shop, and amid the smoke and fire I heard someone shouting so I went in and pulled him out – he is a friend; our children play together.”

The injured 60-year-old friend, Danny, had just come out of the toilet, next to his shop, when the rocket struck.

Underground ward

He had his foot amputated at Nahariya’s Western Galilee hospital, where patients have been moved to an underground ward, hastily equipped on Wednesday night.

The hospital received 121 injured people, mostly from Nahariya and nearby village Majdal Qrum.

Some of Nahariya’s 57,000
residents in underground shelters

Most of the patients were lightly injured and suffering from shock.

One patient, Shimon Shechter, 43, a building contractor was driving to work when he heard a loud explosion.

“Everything went black, then I woke up to find myself covered in blood,” he says.

Shechter was struck on the nose by shrapnel. In the nearby children’s ward, Ofir Kenig, 2, was also injured by shrapnel lodged in his shoulder.

Kenig and his family live on Zamir street, opposite the northern Nahariya apartment block where a Katyusha struck on Thursday morning.

The attack killed one woman, who was sitting on her fifth-floor balcony drinking coffee when the rocket struck her.

Many of her neighbours have evacuated the building but Hananyia Weizman, 37, is still there, house-sitting his sister’s apartment while she is abroad with her children.

The flat has several windows blown out, with shattered glass spread all over the floor, the children’s beds and toys.

Weizman had already left for work when the explosion happened, at around 7am.


“I’m not scared of this,” he says. “I’m scared only of God.

“We can’t show them that we’re afraid and we have to carry on living as normal,” he says.

But his hands tremble as he searches for a phone number on a piece of paper.

Rockets killed at least one womanand injured dozens on Thursday

Rockets killed at least one woman
and injured dozens on Thursday

One young woman, Roxanna, who lives nearby, says:

“I woke up glued to the ceiling, from fear. The first thing I say each morning is a prayer to God.”

But, she adds: “We are scared of course, but we won’t let it interfere with our lives. That’s what they want, and what they won’t get.”

Back at the Winner cafe, there is similar defiance.

“I’m not afraid,” says Avi Ben Dalak, 29. “I was born in Nahariya and I will die here. The army should go into Lebanon and teach them once and for all not to bother us anymore.”

“If we don’t go in now, they will send rockets that will reach Tel Aviv,” says Meir Baruchi, 50, also at the cafe.

But a few doors down, one woman is not so sure.

“I’m sad; it hurts,” says Ilana Blitz Blau, a 58-year-old mother of three who has a scissors and knife shop opposite the coffee grinders where a rocket landed.

“My children were raised on Katyushas,” she says. “I would prefer for our government to sit down and negotiate a solution. I hope in the end there will be someone to negotiate with.”

Source : Al Jazeera

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