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Hamas rockets rain on Israeli towns

Only three civilian fatalities to date, but a climate of fear pervades Israel's southern communities.

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RELIEF EFFORTS: An Israeli volunteer helps clean up a home in Sderot, Israel, after a Hamas rocket attack on Monday.

Bernat Armangue/AP

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When the residents of this neighborhood of prefab bungalows were evacuated by Israel from the Gaza Strip 3-1/2 years ago, they thought they were leaving lives of daily shelling by Palestinian militants behind.

But after Israel initiated its onslaught against Hamas on Dec. 27, this community of 3,000 former Gaza settlers just 15 miles from the border again finds itself in a war zone.

"There's been three years of calm, and suddenly you go back to the same situation," says Michal Nachmani, a former resident of the Gaza settlement of Neve Dekalim. "We don't have any way to protect our kids."

Just like the half million residents of southern Israel in the reach of Hamas's Katyusha rockets, the former settlers are adjusting to a new reality of intermittent warning sirens and a desperate scramble for cover. Schools have been canceled, businesses have pared back operations, and emergency workers have been put on a permanent state of alert.

More than 30 rockets were fired by Hamas on Monday. One of the rockets struck a large outdoor market that was closed at the time in the town of Sderot. Another rocket hit a kindergarten in Ashdod, Israel. The kindergarten was closed at the time. An Israeli toddler suffered minor injuries when a rocket hit Gedera, Israel, Tuesday.

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