Reporters on the Job

Sayyid Azim/AP
Kenyan children returned to the Kongoni Primary School in Nairobi Monday. The ethnic violence following a disputed Dec. 27 election prompted officials to delay the reopening of schools for a week.

Brothers in Arms: Staff writer Dan Murphy met one of the Palestinian rocketmakers living in Gaza (see story). Rockets fired from Gaza have become a horrifying fact of daily life for a few Israeli communities on the border.

But the weapons themselves are quite low tech. In this case, Dan says they were being made in a small workshop inside a five-story apartment building.

As Dan entered the structure, children were scurrying underfoot. And while he was talking to the rocketmaker, Dan could hear the children laughing and playing on the stairs.

"I asked him if he was concerned that he was putting those kids at risk," says Dan. "If the Israelis found the building, they might bomb it. He just shrugged it off and told me that everyone in Gaza is at risk of attack."

His laissez faire attitude wasn't too encouraging for Dan, who kept an ear cocked for the sound of approaching Israeli aircraft.

While Dan was doing his interview, he also got a sense of Gaza's fractured militant politics.

The rocketmaker supports Hamas. His brother, who was making bullets for an AK-47 rifle, supports Islamic Jihad. Dan asked why he was making bullets when they are readily available on the black market. The brother replied that he'd heard a rumor that Israel was flooding the market with inferior product.

The brothers got into a heated argument while Dan was there, with the bulletmaking brother attacking Hamas's political motives.

David Clark Scott

World editor

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