Behind the Headlines: Hamas' attack on an Israeli school bus
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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 Behind the Headlines: Hamas' attack on an Israeli school bus

4/10/2011

Israel is facing a new round of attacks from Gaza that began with the strike on a school bus in southern Israel. As a result of an anti-tank missile hit, a 16 year-old schoolboy was very critically injured and is still fighting for his life, while the bus driver was lightly injured. 


 
Remains of school bus (Photo: Edi Israel)

Terrorist organizations have equipped themselves with advanced anti-tank missile systems, such as the Kornet missile, able to inflict serious damage. (Archive photo: IDF Spokesperson)

The Kornet missile used by Hamas in the attack has a warhead capable of penetrating the armor of a modern tank. A school bus stood no chance against this advanced weapon. Though it hit the rear of the bus, it injured the driver and young passenger in the front.  It was a miracle that the dozens of other children who had disembarked only minutes before were not killed, in what could have been the worst large-scale massacre of Israeli schoolchildren in years.

The targeting of the school bus constitutes a war crime, one that should be condemned by the international community. The attack on a civilian target was undoubtedly a deliberate act. In contrast to the usual mortar and rockets, which are low-tech weapons, an advanced and accurate Kornet missile was deployed. This laser-guided anti-tank missile always hits the specific objective chosen by its operator. The terrorist who activated this weapon clearly saw the yellow school bus, which travels the same route in Israel every day.

Following the school bus attack, a barrage of more than 120 Grad missiles, rockets and mortar shells bombarded Israel’s south. Due to Israel's early warning system, and the new “Iron Dome” anti-missile weapon, the only casualties were nine victims of shock. However there was property and infrastructure damage, including to a main water pipe and to electrical cables, causing a power outage that affected communities in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council area.

The school bus attack demonstrates yet again that Hamas is employing high-tech weapons smuggled into the Gaza Strip with the assistance of outside elements, such as Iran and Syria, which are constantly attempting to arm the terrorist organization with advanced weaponry. Only recently, Israel managed to stop at sea a large arms shipment from Iran to Gaza that included radar-guided anti-ship missiles.  Israel has the right, and the duty, to prevent this smuggling, whether by checking goods entering Gaza by land crossings or by stopping the entrance of uninspected ship cargo. This missile attack on the school bus serves to further clarify Israel’s need to prevent unrestricted sea access to Gaza, despite attempts by hostile elements to terminate Israeli supervision through the use of so-called humanitarian flotillas.

 
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