Why should one lie flat on the ground if caught outside in a missile attack? It is never explained on Israel’s Home Front Command website – at least, not in English – and few people ever have time to discuss it.

But a military official took time to answer the question on an Israeli radion program Sunday afternoon after a 16 year old boy was badly hurt in a Grad missile attack in Ashkelon.

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The boy was one of at least two people who didn’t make it in time to a safe space, and didn’t know what to do; he took cover as best he could – but he did not lie flat on the ground.

The boy suffered serious shrapnel wounds when a missile exploded in the area, shooting the shards of hot metal right into him. A nearby adult suffered lighter wounds.

“If you lie down flat on the ground, you stand a much better chance of survival,” explained the official.

“Most of the time the shrapnel flies in a horizontal direction, or at an angle. If for some reason the 30 seconds has passed – in Ashkelon, for instance they have only a 30 second window before a missile lands – whatever you do, don’t remaining standing! Get down on the ground and remain as flat as you can. If a missile lands in your area, there is a much better chance that most of the shrapnel will pass right over you, if you lie flat and do not move.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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