For the first time since the IDF’s recent withdrawal from Gaza, Islamic Jihad terrorists fired rockets Friday toward Sderot, in the western Negev desert.
Islamic Jihad claimed it had fired 13 rockets, but IDF forces identified four rocket landing sites: Three near Kibbutz Kfar Gaza and another near Kibbutz Zikim.
All of the rockets landed in open areas; no injuries were reported.
The IDF turned to the Palestinian Authority, demanding that it contain the rocket fire. Israel will apparently make due with this demand, despite the fact that following the pullout Israeli officials said the IDF would respond harshly to any attacks emanating from Gaza.
The “al-Quds” rockets were fired by terrorists from the al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s military wing.
The terror group said in a statement that it had fired 13 rockets “toward different targets in Israel, mainly in the direction of Sderot and Kibbutz Kfar Gaza.
Palestinian sources said tensions are mounting between Palestinian Authority security officers and Islamic Jihad terrorists, who are preparing to fire additional rockets toward Israel.
An Israeli Apache helicopter is hovering above Gaza City, they added.
Earlier senior Islamic Jihad member sheikh Khaled al-Batch said the organization would respond, and senior members from the Tul Karm area in the West Bank added that the IDF’s operation would not go unanswered.
Eleven days ago a rocket was apparently fired toward Kibbutz Yad Mordechai a few hours after the last IDF soldier left Gaza. The rocket was not found.
Armed with Kalashnikovs
Three Islamic Jihad terrorists killed overnight in the northern West Bank in armed exchanges with the IDF. Army sources said the terrorists were planning to fire Qassam rockets or mortars at northern West Bank settlements.
The dead Palestinian gunmen were named as Jamil Abu Saada, 25, Said al-Ashker, 23, who is considered to have been close to Islamic Jihad chiefs, and Raad Ajaj, 31, wanted since 2003.
Ajaj began his terror activities in an Islamic Jihad cell, and in recent years was considered a cell commander. The villages from which the terrorists came, Sayada, Atil, and Ailar, were launching pads for bomb attacks against the Stage night club in Tel Aviv, the car bomb attack in Netanya, and an attack on the settlement of Shavei Shomron.
The three terrorists were armed with Kalashnikovs, pistols, and M16 automatic rifles.
Sources in the army said the three men were also involved in carrying out shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers in the Tul Karem area in the West Bank, as well as kidnapping Palestinians who were suspected of cooperating with Israeli security forces.
The three men were beginning to accumulate knowledge on the development of rockets, and had planned on firing rockets and mortars on north West Bank settlements.
Ali Waked and Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report