www.TheIsraelProject.orgJERUSALEM, April 7 – Terrorists in Gaza fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli school bus on Thursday, injuring two people, one of them very seriously. The missile scored a direct hit and a major tragedy was averted only because most students had disembarked minutes before the attack.
One of the wounded, a 16-year-old, was reported to be in critical condition. The wounded were evacuated by helicopter to a hospital in Beersheba.
Minutes later, terrorists in Hamas-controlled Gaza fired at least 45 more mortars at Israeli villages near Gaza. Israeli Defense Forces launched attacks against terrorist positions. Three people were killed and at least eight were injured.
Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system intercepted at least one Grad missile aimed at the city of Ashkelon north of Gaza, the first time the system had worked in combat.
“This is a huge achievement,” one IDF official told The Jerusalem Post.
As many as 50 children had been on the bus as it made its way from a regional middle school to drop them at their homes. The missile ripped through the entire bus, destroying the interior.
“The bus was heading from Nahal Oz to the school, and only one child and the driver were left on the bus, and they were hurt,” said Yenina Barnea, a local resident. “The other kids had just gotten off.”
“We are all in shelters and hear bombing around us. Until two minutes ago (4:28 pm Israel time), we kept hearing bombs, but I didn’t know if it was in Israel or in Gaza. All the kids are in shelters,” she added.
Over 200 mortars and rockets were launched from Gaza at Israel so far this year. Hamas, which controls Gaza, is armed and financed by Iran and is dedicated to the goal of killing Jews and destroying the Jewish state as stated in its official Charter
Residents in the area were ordered into their bomb shelters.
“Hamas is responsible for any strikes that originate in Gaza,” said Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, removing all its troops and settlements.
President Shimon Peres, who was visiting United Nations headquarters in New York, said the attacked showed that Gaza has turned into a terror state.
“Can the United Nations guarantee that terrorist acts will not happen? None of you would give up on the security of your country, and Israel will also defend itself,” he told Security Council ambassadors.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, said Israel would not accept attacks that no other country would tolerate.
The past month has seen a sharp increase in terrorist attacks on Israelis. A bomb exploded next to a bus in Jerusalem last month killing a British woman and wounding dozens, while terrorists stabbed to death a family of five, including three children, in the West Bank community of Itamar.