This posting was contributed by Richard Smith, a retired government official who lives in Virginia, and who is spending a month in Kibbutz Nir-Am to chronicle the courage of Israelis under fire on his compelling site, www.iron-rain.com.
This is being written late afternoon on Wednesday, February 27, 2008. So far 22 rockets have been launched from Gaza toward Sderot and other communities along the border. Tragically, a student at Sapir College has been killed.
Two rockets have landed on Kibbutz Nir-Am, where I am staying, one in a playground, and another near the livestock area of the kibbutz. There have been no reported injuries, but probably several people are in shock.
Israelis in Kibbutz Nir-Am inspect the crater of a kassam strike in a playground. (photo by Richard Smith)
There was a child-care area within fifty feet of the rocket strike that hit the playground.
Shrapnel and the explosion blew out windows all around the area. "It is a black day," says an older gentleman as he sweeps up glass.
A father protects his son as they hide behind a wall, waiting for a rocket to fall. (photo by Richard Smith)
When the "color red" alarm is heard, people get behind walls, trees, anything solid.
As I write this at 5:44 p.m. Israeli time another alarm is given, and another rocket hits nearby. This day is not over yet.
Updated at 7:15 p.m. - Over 40 rockets have been fired into southern Israel from Gaza.