Police are working hard to locate an estimated 1,200 rockets fired by Gazan terrorists during the recent escalation that landed in unpopulated open areas in Israel, and aim to do so before they can cause injury to the public.
The missiles, many of which did not explode, now pose a serious danger to hikers and others who may come across them. In the last three days alone police recovered seven of the duds.
During the course of the eight-day Operation Pillar of Defense, which at ended last week with a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, terror groups fired 1,490 missiles at Israel. Roughly 200 rockets that were headed toward populated areas were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system; a small number got through.
Most of the others landed in unpopulated areas, causing no damage on impact. So far, only 250 of those rockets have been located by police. The fear is that some of the many rockets still missing have not exploded and the slightest touch could set them off.
“As soon as the operation ended we began activities to locate landing sites in Israeli territory,” said Chief Inspector Erez Tamsut, a bomb disposal officer from the Lahish region. “Our great fear is that in the coming days, especially over the weekends, the public will hike in the south, particularly in the areas where rockets fell.”
Tamsut called on the public to be careful, and to not touch any rockets or pieces of rockets found in the field.
“There is a trend of people taking pieces as mementos,” he said. “Some of the time people decide for themselves what is dangerous and what isn’t. As far as we are concerned, each and every individual item is dangerous.”
A police source told Maariv that it will take a long time until authorities are able to locate all the unexploded rockets. The source also noted that the recent rains will further complicate the task as some rockets may sink into mud or be swept away by the water.
The police advised that anyone who finds a rocket or a part of one leave it alone and immediately contact the police.