By Linda Grant
Since many of you had asked, I thought I would send a quick update on the recent increase in activity here.
The past week has seen a substantial increase in rocket/mortar activity. Several times this week the IDF has advised those living in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip to stay close to bomb-proof areas. Since March 19th, 97 rockets were fired from Gaza into the southern district. The following is a breakdown of the week’s activity.

SATURDAY 3/19: 50 rockets/mortars were fired into Israel during early morning hours. Two people were reported to be injured and two homes damaged by the barrage of rockets.

TUESDAY 3/22: Following an IDF reprisal on Tuesday for the continuing Hamas attacks, the IDF advises Israelis living in Gaza Strip vicinity to stay close to bomb-proof areas.

WEDNESDAY 3/23: Wednesday morning two Grad missiles were fired from Gaza and exploded in Be’er Sheva, injuring five people and damaging a house.

Later that morning, seven more mortar shells exploded in the Eshkol farm region. Some mortars were found to contain phosphorus which magnifies the burn wounds. Later that morning two more rockets exploded in Be’er Sheva, and ten mortar shells fell in the Sha’ar Hanegev and Eshkol Regional Councils.

That afternoon a bomb was detonated at a bus stop in central Jerusalem, killing an elderly woman and seriously injures thirty-nine others.

Since Wednesday is our distribution day, we were at the storefront as the breaking news was heard. As we listened to the reports, it was evident that our neighbors and volunteers were visibly shaken.

The events of this past week are wearing hard on them. As we continued to monitor the reports we tried to calm our volunteers, and reminded them that “… He who watches over Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.”

The violence is the fiercest between the two sides since Israel went to war in Gaza two years ago. With no sign that Israeli and Palestinian leaders are narrowing the gaps that have deadlocked negotiations, fears are growing that another grave escalation is imminent.

Wednesday night, after taking 20 assorted missiles and mortar shells during the day, three quarters of a million civilians were advised to stay close to their bomb-proof shelters and safe rooms. In addition, it was announced that schools in Be’er Sheva and Ashkelon would remain closed for rest of week.

THURSDAY 3/24: In the morning hours, three Kassam rockets, one Grad missile and a mortar shell were shot into Israel from Gaza. Grad missiles landed in and north of Ashdod. By evening a total of eight rockets were launched into the area.

Thursday evening, as we were leaving the market the “Tseva Adom” was heard which was then followed by a loud explosion nearby.

Thursday evening, we usually gather for dinner and fellowship. As we sat at the dinner table we heard and felt at least five loud explosions as the Israeli Air Force retaliated.

It is a privilege to be here serving Ha’Shem and ministering to His people as we remind them and ourselves that He reigns and is in control of every detail, that He changes not… His name is El Shaddai !