Shrapnel That Penetrated Fortified Room, Killing Israeli Boy, Hit at 'Rare Ballistic Trajectory'

Home Front Command issues initial report on attack that killed Ido Avigal, 5 ■ IDF beefs up directives after findings: The room’s steel plate and protected window must both be shut, occupants must stay below window level

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The Avigal's family building where five-year-old Ido was killed in Sderot, Israel
The Avigal's family building where five-year-old Ido was killed in Sderot, IsraelCredit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

A preliminary investigation by the Home Front Command concluded that 5-year-old Ido Avigal of Sderot was killed Wednesday night by rocket shrapnel that entered into the family’s fortified room flying in a “rare ballistic trajectory.”

The trajectory caused the window, which was termed “the fortified room’s weak point,” to burst. The steel plate that protects the window was taken for examination to determine whether it met safety standards.

As a result, the Israel Defense Forces issued revised instructions stating that occupants in safe rooms should stay below the level of the room’s window.

The boy was in his home’s fortified room with his family when a rocket struck an adjacent building, causing shrapnel to penetrate the window of the room and injuring several members of the Avigal family. Ido’s 7-year-old sister was wounded as was the children’s mother, who was taken to the hospital in serious condition.

The site of the rocket attack sustained considerable damage and residents of the two buildings – the one that was hit directly and the one damaged by shrapnel – were forced to evacuate their homes.

“I got home the minute the siren went off,” a resident of the building that was hit directly told Haaretz. “I ran to the safe room with my family and suddenly there was a huge explosion. There was no confusion, our building had been hit.”

The neighbor added that “there were several injured in my building, but suddenly they brought down an injured person from the other building and told us that fragments from the rocket that hit our building had flown their way.”

IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman said on Thursday that following the investigation, the army is calling on the public to close both safe room windows – the safety window and the outer steel plate – and to remain below the level of the opening.

“We had an unusual incident in Sderot with a fortified room being penetrated through the window,” said Zilberman. “The window was okay. What was unusual in this case was the trajectory of the hit and its speed.” Nevertheless, despite his remarks, the Home Front Command is continuing to study the window.

Meeting on Wednesday night with Ido’s father, Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi said, “We share the pain of this dear family, who joined the Sderot community four years ago and this evening lost their young son.”

The mayor added that “we demand from the country’s leaders that they continue the campaign [against Hamas] and deal a fatal blow to Islamic Jihad and Hamas and their leaders in order to restore peace to the citizens of Sderot, the Gaza border and the south.”

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