Photo: Uri Yaari
Qassam. Almost hit school (Archive)
Photo: Uri Yaari
Photo: Ori Porat
Mofaz. Stepping up pressure on terror
Photo: Ori Porat

Qassam lands near school

Mofaz orders army to boost retaliations to rocket barrage, warns terrorists may step up attacks to affect elections

The barrage of Qassam rockets from the northern Gaza Strip continued over the weekend, with one rocket landing some 50 meters (164 feet) from an elementary school in a community in the Gaza vicinity.


Another Qassam hit near Moshav Mavki’im just south of Ashkelon, next to a gas station. There were no casualties or damage in either of the attacks.


The Red Dawn alarm system failed to go off to warn of either attack, apparently due to the dust and haze.


The rocket that landed near the school caused panic and fear in the community. The mother of a pupil at the school told Ynet that after the disengagement from Gaza she kept her daughter home from school because she was afraid of attacks.


“Then I understood that you can’t keep on like this, and since then I’m living in fear,” she said.


“I keep asking, how long will this go on? Every time there is some excuse about why they don’t do anything, and today too we understood that the army doesn’t really do anything. Even when the army operates, it fires into open areas," she added.


Mofaz: Terror organizations plan to influence elections


"The situation is getting worse. Every morning I fell like I’m in a game of Russian roulette when I send my daughter to school with butterflies in my stomach and full of anxieties,” she concluded.


On Sunday, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz instructed the IDF and Shin Bet on Sunday to step up operations against terrorist organizations, especially Qassam rocket cells in the Gaza Strip.


During Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, Mofaz noted that the terror organizations planned to carry out attacks to influence Israel’s upcoming elections. “I have instructed (security forces) to increase alertness ahead of the elections. Owing to the increase in Qassam attacks, I have instructed to boost the pressure and increase the offensive (against those responsible),” Mofaz said.


The defense minister also said that "terrorist elements continue their actions uninterrupted, with Islamic Jihad emerging as the leader of these efforts. The alert level is high – we have intelligence on 10 planned attacks in Israel."


Mofaz brought the ministers up to speed on the IDF's recent operations in Nablus, and reported army forces have so far nabbed 20 prominent terror activists and uncovered a substantial amount of weapons and two explosives labs.


"The targeted killing strategy will continue in the West Bank, and we shall find our way to the doorstep of each terrorist and terror mastermind," Mofaz stated.


In a meeting Sunday with Assistant U.S. Secretary of State David Welch, Mofaz said that "the recent talks between Hamas and Iran as well as Khaled Mashaal's visit to Tehran were aimed at securing the support of the Iranians and at forming an alliance with Iran, a thing that would help bring the axis of evil of Iran-Syria-Hizbullah-Hamas here."


"We know of plans to tighten relations between Hamas and Hizbullah, which may institutionalize Iranian control over the Palestinian Authority. This we cannot accept," Mofaz added.


Shmulik Hadad contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 02.26.06, 16:17
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