Restraint policy nearing its end? A Givati Brigade force killed an armed terrorist near the security fence in Gaza Wednesday evening, north of the Karni crossing in the northern Gaza Strip.
The troops opened fire at the Palestinian after they identified him as being armed with guns and grenades. Wednesday's incident marks the first time the IDF opened fire at gunmen since the ceasefire with the Palestinians was declared.
Since the start of the ceasefire, the IDF has employed a cautious policy, and aside from a few incidents in which troops fired at the lower bodies of Palestinian suspects approaching the security fence, there have been no unusual incidents.
The IDF has also refrained from preemptive strikes and targeting Qassam launch sites.
IDF officials noted that the Wednesday evening strike was carried out because forces assessed a real and present danger to the lives of the soldiers on the Israeli side of the fence.
Against the backdrop of the ceasefire, military officials said that Hamas was continuing to stockpile and develop weapons, and there were obvious signs the group was advancing its capabilities, as Hizbullah did in south Lebanon.
On Tuesday, after five days of calm, five Qassam rockets were launched from Gaza towards the Western Negev. The rockets landed in open fields near Sderot, and caused no injuries or damage.
Sources in the Palestinian Authority said the Islamic Jihad was behind the attack, but the organization refused to claim responsibility for the shooting.
According to the security forces, 23 Qassams landed in Israel since the truce was announced.
Following Tuesday's attack, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that "it's getting increasingly difficult not to respond." Speaking to reporters in Berlin, the prime minister said that Israel was still holding back in order to prevent the clashes from escalating further.