Israel to fortify some southern homes


Israel will fortify a limited number of communities near Gaza against Palestinian rocket attacks.

A Cabinet-level committee appointed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced Sunday that approximately 8,000 homes in towns and kibbutzim within two miles of the Gaza border will be provided with fortified “safe rooms” and have their ceilings bolstered to withstand rocket strikes. The changes should take place over the next two years.

Subject to constant rocket fire for the last seven years or so, Sderot residents long have complained that the government has not adequately protected them from Palestinian rocket attacks.

The $100 million plan is meant to complement Iron Dome, an Israeli anti-rocket system currently under development and which, when completed, is expected to shoot down rockets with a range of more than two miles. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has said Iron Dome will be ready for trials in 2010.

Many Palestinian rockets have two- to three-mile ranges, but some have gone as far as nine miles.


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