A police sapper unit in the Lachish region neutralized a Grad rocket on Friday night after a resident of Ashkelon found the rocket and intended to keep it as a souvenir of Operation Pillar of Defense, a week-long confrontation between Israel and Hamas that ended in a cease-fire agreement on Nov. 21.
During a neighborhood soccer game on Friday, a Lachish region police sapper overheard a conversation among several youths about one of the players having collected pieces of Grad rockets fired from Gaza as souvenirs. The man had apparently taken the rocket parts home. The sapper investigated the rumor and was surprised to find that the rocket parts did not only include inactive components but live explosives as well.
The police officer informed his friends in his sapper unit who visited the man's home and found several live Grad warheads among his collection. On Saturday morning, a team of sappers, headed by Superintendent Erez Tamsut, removed an item from the man's home that was safely detonated some distance away.
"The citizen who took the item home endangered not only himself but also his small children who actually played with it for a while, his neighbors, and the police sappers," Tamsut said.
Superintendent Amir Sofer, head of the Negev region sapper unit, said, "There have already been several incidents in which people were severely injured or even killed by such objects, and some people still haven't learned the lesson."