The evacuation of Sderot, Israel is underway as the country prepares for the imminent ground invasion of the Gaza Strip by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
I was in Sderot as residents packed into buses to head for safer areas of the country. About a third of the city's population of 30,000 remains in the city. While the government is urging civilians to leave Sderot and is subsidizing hotel accommodations for those who do evacuate, they are not forcing them.
Danny Danon, a member of the Israeli Knesset, was present during the evacuation and told me what he believes are the goals of the IDF's current operation, titled "Swords of Iron."
"Eradicating Hamas, period," he said. "That's the only option we have. [Anything] less means we're going to be back for another round."
Danon, also former ambassador of Israel to the United Nations, said that the time for an inquiry into how the attack could have taken Israel by surprise will come after the war. For now he is focused on the fight the IDF has ahead.
During our time in Sderot, we could see and hear the Iron Dome interception system exploding rockets in the sky above us. The city will continue to be attacked by rocket fire from Hamas as the IDF continues preparations for its ground offensive.
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