Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on Saturday for his security forces to step up efforts to prevent rockets from being fired into Israel
from the Gaza Strip.
At a graduation ceremony for his presidential guard, Abbas was quoted by the official WAFA news agency as saying it was necessary that "all parties work with maximum effort, especially the presidential guard and national security forces, to spread security and safety in the homeland, end security anarchy and stop useless rockets."
Abbas' remarks were made on the same day as a Qassam rocket fired by Palestinians in north Gaza, struck a factory in Sderot’s industrial zone. A fire that broke out as a result of the strike was quickly put out by the factory’s automatic extinguishing system prior to the local firefighters’ arrival at the scene.
Residents of Sderot and the surrounding area have been enjoying a relatively calm Passover holiday. One other Qassam fired from Gaza landed in Sderot on Tuesday. Both incidents ended with no injuries or damage.
According to security establishment officials, Palestinians launched close to 200 Qassam rockets despite the agreed upon truce between the sides, which went into effect last November. Over 150 of those rockets landed in Israeli territory.
For the first time last week, IDF forces were able to prevent a Qassam launch thanks to positive identification of the perpetrators.
Meanwhile, Israeli helicopters fired into the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing one Palestinian gunman who the army said was trying to plant an explosive device. Local residents said the exchange of fire near the Jabalya refugee camp was the fiercest such exchange between Israeli forces and terrorists since the November truce.
IDF has warned that anyone to approach the security fence will be shot at.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit urged both Israel and the Palestinians not to carry out further attacks. He said Israeli actions did not "add to the ongoing efforts ... to bring the peace process back on track".
Tova Dadon contributed to the report.