In Nahariya, some choose to leave, while others remain defiant
IDF orders residents to take shelter in bunkers; Resident: We weren't scared before, they won't scare us now.
Facing the propsect of further rocket fire from Hezbollah guerillas in nearby Lebanon, some Nahariya residents began to leave the border town Thursday while others vowed to stay put.
A 40-year-old woman from the town was killed Thursday morning, when a rocket hit her fifth story apartment. Another 29 people were wounded, including some children.
Dozens of families were seen packing their belongings in the city's Green Naharyia neighborhood and making their way south to escape the reach of Hezbollah's rockets.
Local resident Rivka Vekart described the incident in which her neighbor was killed, saying she was thrown off her balcony from the rocket's impact.
"Am ambulance came and started to search for the woman outside her house but didn't find her until she was found a floor beneath," Vekart said.
"We don't know what to do but one thing is for sure: We shall not leave. We weren't scared in the past and they won't scare us now."
Along the border to the northeast, Kiryat Shmona municipality said that approximately 200 families had left the city in the wake of the rocket fire.
The Israel Defense Forces had ordered residents of communities up to 15 kilometers from the Lebanese border to take shelter in local bunkers.
Despite the order, the 40-year-old woman had been sitting on her fifth-floor balcony when the rocket hit the floor above, cutting through the ceiling and killing her, Israel Radio reported.
Nahariya Mayor Jackie Sabag said the whole town, about 10 kilometers south of Israel's border with Lebanon, has shut down. Sabag urged all residents to comply with army orders to stay in underground shelters.
Nahariya Hospital was on high alert, and the deputy director, Moshe Daniel, said all elective surgeries had been halted.
Doctors evacuated the top floor and moved those patients, most of them children, to the secure basement, along with dozens of women in the maternity ward. Patients in floors one through three remained put because the walls are made of reinforced material strong enought to withstand a rocket attack, hospital officials said.
One of the basement rooms was packed with around 30 new mothers. Doctors rushed back and forth and babies cried. Golan Elbachli, 31, stood with his wife looking into a crib at their second child, a girl.
"This doesn't affect her. She's sleeping like a queen," Elbachli said of his newborn. "Her mother, it affects."
Nahariya council set up a helpline that can be reached on 04-987 9801 or 04-9879811
Also Thursday, the Home Front Command ordered hotels and guest houses in the north - a favorite summer vacationing area - to send all visitors home for the coming days. Hundreds of people canceled their weekend reservations in the area, tourism officials said.
The nature reserves of Tel Dan, Banias, Nahal Ayoun, Nahal Snir and Hula were all closed to the public. The national parks at Nimrod's Castle, Baram, Horeshet Tal, Achziv and Tel Hatzur were also shut.