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IDF troops - 'It's going to take patience' Photo: Reuters
IDF troops - 'It's going to take patience' Photo: Reuters
 
Qassam rocket being launched from Gaza Photo: AP
Qassam rocket being launched from Gaza Photo: AP
 
 

IDF: Hamas behind drop in Qassam attacks

Less rocket attacks from Gaza? IDF officers aren't quick to declare victory, say Hamas making tactical decisions when to launch 20 or 2 Qassams. Meanwhile air strikes continue on Wednesday as Israel goes after terror money trail

Hanan Greenberg
Published: 05.24.07, 01:38 / Israel News

The drop in Qassam attacks against Israel in recent days isn't due to the IDF but rather internal tactical decisions within Hamas – said military sources on Wednesday.

Gaza Operations
Israeli troops detain 7 in brief foray into Gaza, Palestinians say / Ali Waked and AP
Large IDF force enters Khan Younis area in southern Strip; troops search several homes, arrest seven men who are later released. Operation aimed at gathering intelligence on terror activity
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Over the course of the past two days there has been a notable drop in the amount of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, but the army is refusing to call the operation a success, saying that only prolonged action against the terror groups launching the attacks will impair their capabilities and change the reality on the ground for Sderot and all of southern Israel.

 

"It's only been a week since the IDF switched its operations in Gaza from mostly defensive to defense-through-offense. The impact of this on terror organizations is not something we're going to see after one day," said a military source, "we need a lot of patience."

 

And so despite the decline in rocket attacks, the Southern Command is far from euphoric. "It's still far too soon to tell what influence the military action had on Hamas and so it would be erroneous to say on a particular day when there are less rockets that this is because of what the IDF is doing," said a military source.

 

Army: Every Qassam is one too many

"There is no doubt that Hamas is not behaving as it did a week ago, the fact that the organization was targeted many times and the fact that they have several dozen casualties has compelled them to operate

differently. The more we persist with our actions, the more results we will see. When we hit the organization hard – a deterrent that will work – then we'll see the decision to stop the rockets. We need to bring them to the point where they need to make that decision and we are not there yet."

 

In private conversations IDF officers said that at the time being Hamas is still capable of deciding when to launch 20 Qassams and when to settle for half that amount. But most of the decisions, they said, are strategic.

 

"Obviously the army's operations impair their ability to fire rockets, several launching cells have been hit, we've created a situation where the terrorists are afraid to be in their training camps, some 50 of their ranks were killed, but it is still much to soon to make victory declarations. We're still seeing launchings."

 

What needs to be accomplished in the end, military officials said, is for the terror groups to decide to stop the rockets. Until that happens, even if there is a break in the attacks, it is not enough.

 

"Anything else is unacceptable to us, every single Qassam is one too many."

 

Meanwhile Israeli aircraft on Wednesday night targeted a vehicle carrying several Hamas members in Gaza City, the car managed to evade the attack and none of the targets were wounded. In a second attack in Gaza the IDF targeted the shop of a money changer the army accused of transferring millions of

dollars to Hamas and other terror groups.

 

Military sources said the money, which was transferred via Syria, Iran and Lebanon, was intended to fund the manufacturing of Qassam rockets and other attacks against Israel. The army noted that these were the first strikes against the terror groups' financial sources.

 

Ali Waked contributed to this report

 

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