A recent surge in kassam rocket attacks from Gaza-based terrorists has again battered the Sderot region.
Here are a few photos from The Israel Project, showing damage to both people and property in the past few weeks. And below the photos, read on for a bit of background about what kassams are, and how deeply into Israel they are capable of striking.
Five-year-old Lior Ben-Shimon was seriously wounded when a kassam hit the Sderot house she was in on Jan. 16, 2008.
The garage of a Sderot home, struck by a kassam fired from Gaza on Jan. 17, 2008.
Shlomit Vakery, a Sderot resident, is treated for hysteria after rockets hit the southern Negev city on Jan. 17, 2008.
About Kassams (a.k.a. Qassams): According to the Israel Defense Forces, 1500 kassams and mortars fired by Gaza-based terrorists hit Sderot and the nearby towns and kibbutzim in 2007, which works out to an appalling four a day. The results, again according to the IDF -- 188 injuries and two fatalities in 2007, plus over 1,000 shock victims.
So what is a kassam? It's a simple rocket with an explosive warhead that can be made in crude factories and launched from virtually any location. It has no guidance system to home in on a specific target. There are several types, with maximum ranges that can reach anywhere from 5 to 15 km (for non-metric folks, that's 3 to 9 miles). They have generally been fired from Gaza towards the Sderot region that borders Gaza, but at their maximum range, some kassams can now reach Ashkelon, a much larger city. The West Bank has been largely free of kassams.