Monday, August 25, 2014

Four Arab taxi drivers injured as Hamas mortars slam into Erez terminal

A man injured by a mortar shell is rushed to the emergency room after arriving at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon on August 24, 2014.
(photo credit: Edi Israel/Flash90)

On Sunday afternoon, the Erez crossing point into Israel was hit by a barrage of fire from Gaza. Several Israeli-Arab taxi drivers — whose job is to transport Palestinians from Gaza for medical treatment in Israel — were hurt in the onslaught.
An outraged Israeli-Arab Erez crossing official, who spoke to Army Radio from a secured area at the crossing during a subsequent rocket attack, lambasted Hamas for not caring about the well-being of the Palestinians in Gaza.
“This is an organization that cares about the [Palestinian] people? They’re shooting at the Palestinian terminal,” said the staffer. He stressed that, despite the rocket barrages, the crossing had not closed for emergency medical cases, and that two Gaza females were evacuated “20 minutes ago” via the crossing for life-saving surgery in Israel, and that other taxi-drivers were on hand, “as always,” to transport emergency patients.
Hussein Abu-Einam, an eyewitness on the scene, told Army Radio: “The [drivers] sat in a shed and waited for the passengers and their relatives who were leaving Gaza for Israeli hospitals Ichilov and Tel Hashomer. Then seven shells fell — just one after the other. We didn’t have time to flee; it was a matter of a second.”
Palestinians regularly seek medical treatment in Israel – 180,000 of them in 2013. Even Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh sends his family to Israel for treatment; over the past two years, Israel has treated the terrorist’s granddaughter and his sister’s husband.
Palestinians in Gaza seeking medical aid in Israel generally use the Erez Crossing, and Israel has struggled to keep it open throughout Hamas’s current war against Israel.
Some 50 people were scheduled to use the Erez crossing Sunday, but after the barrage, Kamil Abu Rokan, the Director of the Crossings Point Authority of the Defense Ministry, and General Yoav Mordehai, the Coordinator of the Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), closed the crossing to all traffic except for life-saving cases.
Eli Bean, head of Magen David Adom {the Israeli Red Cross}, said the paramedics who were dispatched to the crossing were forced to treat the injured taxi drivers under fire.
“During treatment, we were forced to deal with a number of sirens and mortar explosions fired at us. The mortar shells fell very close to those who were injured,” he said.
Up to 11 mortar and rocket rounds landed near the crossing, the army said.
The IDF said it retaliated against a hidden launch site in the northern Gaza Strip, from which the concentrated barrage was launched.
Last week, a temporary ceasefire ended when Palestinian terror groups in Gaza renewed rocket launches at Israel hours before the declared lull in fighting was due to expire. Exchanges of fire have continued unabated since, with near continuous rocket barrages emanating from Gaza and Israel launching airstrikes on Hamas targets across the coastal enclave.
Daniel Tragerman, murdered by Hamas, August 22, 2014.
May his memory be a blessing.
Four-year-old Daniel Tragerman of the southern Kibbutz Nahal Oz was killed by shrapnel on Friday, after a mortar shell exploded outside the Tragerman home. The family said they only had a three-second warning from when the siren sounded, and didn’t have enough time to enter the fortified room.
More than 570 missiles have been launched from Gaza into Israeli territory since Hamas broke the latest ceasefire on August 19, five days ago, the Foreign Ministry said.
Many of these have been launched from “various civilian facilities exploited by Hamas terrorists,” the ministry said in a press release.

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