This isn't the first time that the Zikim recruitment base near Ashkelon has absorbed a direct hit by a rocket. Ynet reported this week that sons of bereaved families are no longer sent this base, and that recruitment commanders described how the security reality at Zikim has changed since the disengagement, demanding appropriate compensation for their location.
The IDF admits there is no definitive solution to the Qassam problem. In an attempt to exert pressure on rocket launchers to make them stop the attacks, no less than 1,000 shells were fired at Gaza launch zone last week. In recent days targeted assassinations were increased, and residents in Gaza described a difficult reality of "living between one boom and the next." The Qassams, in the meanwhile, have still not ended.
On Tuesday morning, intelligence sources and the Southern Command continued to mark targets, plan operations, and increase cooperation between IDF forces, in order to continue the massive shelling. The IDF is also carefully beginning to examine the effectiveness of the military activity of terror organizations, and has begun discussing positive results.
"The bottom line is, terror organizations are also thinking twice," said a senior army official. "The scope of those killed in recent days place the number of dead terrorists since we left Gaza at 100, compared to our casualty rate of zero – and that, no matter how we look at it, is food for thought for them," he added.
Islamic Jihad's double message
On Sunday morning, it seemed that the pressure was indeed working, when a senior Islamic Jihad member announced a week-long ceasefire in order to reduce harm to Palestinian civilians. Immediately afterwards, the comments were denied by another Islamic Jihad spokesman. But eyes are now turned to Hamas, which is not taking part in the Qassam rocket fire, but which, according to security forces, is forced to take action due its position in the government.
"Hamas is not interested in entering a circle of fire. The legitimacy that it is trying to create will be seriously harmed if it returns to direct terror operations," said the source.
"The fact that it is in the leadership also does not allow it to be silent in light of the difficult scenes from northern Gaza and the unending activity by the IDF, and therefore one can believe that it is attempting to create calm, maybe through dialogue with the organizations," the source added.
The IDF, in any case, is not waiting for Hamas’ declarations, and says that calm on the Israeli side of the border could bring calm in Gaza, "but there too nothing is certain."
Security forces possess dozens of terror attack warnings ahead of the coming holiday, and fear that the Qassam rockets will disrupt the Passover in southern areas of the country.
Shmulik Hadad contributed to this report