"The strike in Sderot strengthens us and proves that the rocket fire yields and disrupts the Israelis' lives, just like the Israelis' actions harm the Palestinians," a spokesman for the al-Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad's military wing, which is responsible for the rocket fire, told Ynet on Monday evening.
According to the man, Abu Ahmed, "We definitely planned to increase the rocket fire when the school year opened in order to cause the world to pay attention to the suffering of the Palestinian schoolchildren s and their parents."
The rocket barrage on Sderot landed as thousands of children made their way to schools and kindergartens. One of the Qassams landed not far from a kindergarten, causing 12 children to suffer from shock.
Following the rocket attack, the local parents' committee decided to launch a strike in the city's high schools starting Tuesday, which will be joined by the elementary schools on Wednesday.
The parents also decided to demonstrate outside the Knesset with notebooks and backpacks, and demanded that the IDF launch a wide-scale operation against the Qassam launchers.
Abu Ahmed stressed that he and his men were not impressed by the IDF's threats to act.
"These threats are not new, and the IDF has been operating all the time and failing in preventing the rocket fire. We have never stopped firing rockets and are continuing to do so all the time, as part of the organization's perception and as part of the responses to Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people, particularly Islamic Jihad activists.
"The timing of the rocket fire, the amount and the type of rockets all depend on reality and the security-related options. We won't manage to fire the same amount of rockets every day, but we continue to operate in this direction."
Ahead of the opening of the new school year, the parents in Sderot threatened to launch a strike in the education system in light of the foot-dragging in the fortification of classrooms. The other side followed the reported and acted in accordance with them.
"I won't deny that there is a connection," Abu Ahmed said, "Although we wish not to emphasize this. There is a connection but it's not a direct one. Our goal in increasing the rocket fire as the school year opens is to send a message to the Israelis and the world.
"Just like the closure imposed by Israel on the Strip prevents the Palestinians from earning their living and prevents the students from starting the school year normally and makes it difficult for them to buy clothes, bags and equipments – both because of the shortage and because of the economic difficulties – we would like to say that the Israelis will also not be secure in the south, including their schoolchildren."
'Rockets manage to disrupt the Israelis' lives'
As for the Palestinian opposers of the Islamic Jihad's actions, Abu Ahmed said that "the strike proves that the rocket fire is beneficial and yields results, contrary to the remarks made by a number of Palestinian officials, who said that the rockets are unnecessary and useless.
"The rockets have become accurate, they hardly miss, and most important – they manage to disrupt the Israelis' lives. Not only do they lead to strikes, but they also cause the Israelis to say out loud that they plan to operate in the Strip."
Israel has yet to declare a wide-scale operation in the Strip, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday explicitly threatened the terror organizations and promised to hit every spot used to launch Qassam rockets.
"These threats are not new, and if there is an operation it will definitely not be in response to the rocket fire, because the Israeli enemy continues its operations in Gaza in any case," Abu Ahmed said. "It enters the Palestinian territory and assassinates people from the air at every opportunity, so these threats are not part of the equation in any way.
"This also proves that we have learned our lessons and that we are operating in a much more organized way. The ones deliberating and pondering and threatening are the Israelis. We, on our part, will continue to respond to Israel's crimes," he concluded.