SDEROT, Israel - Assurances by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rang hollow in the rocket-plagued southern Israeli city of Sderot Monday morning.
"According to Home Front Command professionals, there is a sufficient level of fortification in Sderot," the prime minister said Sunday on the first day of school.
On the second day of the new school year, seven Kassam rockets fired by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fell during the early morning hours.
The first three rockets, which landed outside the city limits causing no injuries or damage, fell about 7:00 a.m., while most families were still at home, getting ready for the day.
The next two rockets, which set off the Red Alert warning siren that gives residents 15 seconds to make it to shelter, exploded as the children made their way to school.
"When the siren went off, the bus driver stopped near one of the fortified houses and asked the girls to run inside and hide," one mother told YNet news service.
"My daughter called me, terrified and hysterical," she said. "Now she has to start her school day in such a state. I still don't understand why they decided to open the school year in Sderot. Our children are studying under Kassam fire," she said.
The sixth rocket scored a direct hit on a home, near a kindergarten, sending several people into shock. None of the 15 toddlers were injured, just frightened.
"They called to tell me a rocket landed near the facility," said one mother. "I ran there and found all the children terrified and in tears," she said.
The seventh rocket, like the first three, landed just outside city limits, causing neither injuries nor property damage, but it was enough for parents to begin taking their children out of school for the day.
Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for firing nine Kuds-3 rockets, calling them "a present for the start of the new school year," on their Internet site.
"No government official was asking about events in Sderot this morning," Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal told Army Radio. "They're just not interested," he said.
Sources: YNet news service, Israel National News, The Jerusalem Post