Police and security sources reported Tuesday afternoon that a Qassam rocket fired from the northern Gaza Strip landed in an open area near the border fence. There were no reports of injuries or damage.
On Tuesday morning, the Israel Defense Forces foiled an attempt to fire Qassam rockets at the southern town of Sderot.
Three Qassam launchers placed east of the northern Strip town of Beit Hanoun were attacked in a combined operation of the Southern Command and the Israel Air Force. Palestinians reported that a group of gunmen that was about to launch the rockets was hit.
IDF sources said that the strike was carried out moments before the rockets were to have been launched.
Palestinian sources in the Strip reported that two Palestinian were directly hit by the missile, and that their condition was unclear.
Sources in the IDF said that a Qassam launching group was spotted shortly before it managed to fire a rocket barrage at Sderot and the western Negev. According to the sources, in a joint Southern Command and Air Force operation, the army attacked an area where the group was located east of Beit Hanoun. The launchers were exploded and several terrorists standing nearby were hurt.
Vehicle attacked in northern Strip (Photo: Reuters)
About an hour later, the Air Force struck again struck a car carrying Qassam rockets and weapons in the northern Strip. The car was spotted near the area east of Beit Hanoun, where launchers were attacked earlier. Palestinian sources reported that one gunman was killed in the attack and two were wounded.
Since the start of Operation Summer Rains in the Gaza Strip and the IAF's intensive operation, IDF soldiers have hit more than 15 different groups of terrorists, some of them armed Palestinians who planned to fire at soldiers during ground operation, groups that planned to fire anti-tank missiles and Qassam groups. Several other terrorists were wounded.
The Air Force also hit a vehicle carrying hundreds of kilograms of explosives intended for use by Qassam launchers threatening Sderot and Ashkelon.
Sources in the IDF noted that the consequences of the operation in the past two weeks, in which dozens of terrorists were killed, testifies to an improvement in capabilities and the improved coordination between ground and air forces.
In other words, accurate intelligence information quickly gets relayed through army channels so that the soldier firing gets the correct information as fast as possible. Thus striking terrorists becomes possible. Sources in the Southern Command noted that there is a plan to continue to thwart every attempt to fire Qasams and hit civilians and IDF soldiers.
In the meantime, the ground component of Operation Summer Rains has yet to be completed and additional IDF forces may enter other areas inside the Gaza Strip. The sources admitted that there is high motivation among terror activists to continue to fire rockets at Israel and hit IDF soldier, but they say that eventually time will come when the Palestinians understand that it is not worthwhile and will be forced to reconsider whether they should continue with these acts.
Gaza: 4 killed in IDF strikes Monday
On Monday night, Palestinian security forces reported that an IDF tank fired a shell at a group of gunmen that planned to fire a Qassam rocket from the area of the former settlement of Dugit at the western Negev. The gunmen fled the area unharmed.
IDF officials said they were unaware of shells being fired in the area. Shortly afterwards, the Air Force struck a bridge near Beit Hanoun. There were no reports of injuries in the incident.
The IDF said that the strike was aimed at minimizing the risk of moving kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit from one place to another and make it difficult for Qassam launchers to move in the Strip.
Four Palestinians were killed
and several others were wounded Monday when the IAF attacked gunmen in Beit Hanoun in the Karni crossing area.
In Beit Hanoun three teens were killed when an IAF missile struck them on a soccer field. IDF officials claimed that all those killed in the attack stood in close proximity to Qassam rocket launchers. Earlier a Qassam rocket launching was detected in the area.
The Palestinians, however, said that only civilians were killed in the Beit Hanoun attack. The IDF said a Qassam rocket cell was operating nearby when the attack took place; three other Palestinians were wounded in the incident.
An al-Shifa Hospital spokesman said the wounded are in serious condition.
“The Israelis are using new weapons that do not leave much shrapnel, but cause severe internal injuries,” he said.
Ali Waked contributed to the report