The Moment Gaza Rockets Sparked Panic at Israeli Music Festival

'I've been living in this nightmare of rockets and mortar shells for a decade, but I've never experienced a night as traumatic as this'

Rocket alerts sound during 'Live Sderot' festival, southern Israel, August 25, 2019.

The "Live Sderot Festival," held in a stadium in Sderot, was dispersed due to three rockets launched from the Gaza Strip Sunday night, causing widespread panic.

The Israel Police and the Sderot Municipality evacuated the crowd and Magen David Adom paramedics treated a 30-year-old woman who was lightly wounded while running toward the bomb shelter, and 16 more people for shock.

Two of the three rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, the Israeli military said.

The third rocket landed in an open area near Highway 34 in the south, sparking a fire. Emergency services arrived at the scene to extinguish the flames, the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council said, adding that no injuries or damage were caused.

"I've been living in this nightmare of rockets and mortar shells for a decade, but I've never experienced a night as traumatic as this," said Amit Caspi, a Kerem Shalom resident who attended the festival.

"I was with my little boy; he's ten years old, and a friend of his. The stadium was packed with thousands of people. The minute the sirens went off, I immediately understood they were rockets alerts. It took me half a second to grab the children and run toward the bomb shelters, which were so full that we couldn't even get inside," Caspi said.

"I just pushed the children into the fourth bomb shelter I found, and stayed outside. This evening I realized we've lost, and I have tears in my eyes. The rocket fire was deliberate, they knew where to fire and when. It was an attempt to carry out a mass terror attack," Caspi said.

Eti Perlmutte from Sderot said she was driving on the road leading to the stadium when the rocket alerts sounded.

"I was hoping that the summer would end with joy, and suddenly rockets were intercepted over our heads, and we couldn't find a bomb shelter. The adjacent sports hall was locked, and we hid next to it. People were running away, thousands of people were fleeing, and there was nowhere to go. We didn't understand what was happening, there was a lot of noise and explosions were heard," she said.

In response, the Israeli army struck several terror targets belonging to Hamas east of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, and halved fuel imports intended for Gaza's power station until further notice.

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