Hamas terrorists* in Gaza have fired thousands of Kassam rockets at Israeli towns and cities since 2001. Sometimes they hit their mark and kill or wound Israeli civilians. Sometimes they just create fear and panic. Last January, Kassam rockets fired from Gaza during the three week war with Israel reached targets as far away as Beersheba, Yavneh, and Kiryat Gat.
Last week, Hamas terrorists twice tested an upgraded Kassam rocket. JTA reports that the new rocket supposedly has an increased range, and thus could fire further into Israel.
This weekend, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket into southern Israel. It landed in an open area in the Negev desert and did not cause any injuries. JTA reports that it was the first rocket fired in almost a month. Soon after, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired two mortar shells on a civilian crossing between Gaza and Israel which was being used to transport a Palestinian man into Israel for a heart transplant. The mortar attacks came within yards of the ambulances parked back-to-back at the crossing. The Jerusalem Post reports that Palestinians are taken almost daily through this crossing into Israel for medical care in Israeli and overseas hospitals.
The Israeli military responded to the mortar attacks within hours, blowing up a smuggling tunnel under the Southern border of the Gaza Strip. According to the Jerusalem Post, Israel’s Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni explained the immediate response by noting that Israel must respond to every rocket and must not wait to “collect Kassams” before acting to protect the people of Israel with a military operation.
Another mortar shell was fired from the Gaza Strip into an open field in the western Negev on Tuesday afternoon, but no injuries or damage resulted, according to the Post.
* Terrorism is an almost impossible term to define and use. TC Jewfolk adopts the definition of terrorism in Title 22, Chapter 38, section 2656(f)(d) of the United States Code, and the U.S. State Department’s definition of non-combatants.
(Photo of Kassam rockets fired into Sderot: ImageMD)