After two weeks of relative calm in the western Negev, fire from Gaza resumes. A mortar shell fired from the Strip exploded in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council on Wednesday. There were no reports of damage or injuries.
Shortly before the shell was fired, the Shin Bet published data summing up the security situation in 2009, which stated that 566 rockets were fired on Israel in the past year, with most of them being launched in January, during Operation Cast Lead.
According to the Shin Bet this is a significant decline from the 2,048 rockets which were fired at Israel in 2008.
The most recent incident at the Gaza border occurred over the weekend, when three explosive devices were discovered in the spot where three Palestinian terrorists were killed by the IDF.
The last time rockets were fired at the western Negev was on December 16, when two rockets exploded in an open area near Sderot. The rockets were fired as eight soldiers and commanders received honors for their conduct during the Gaza war in Ashkelon.
On Tuesday, Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin commented on the situation in the Strip, saying: "Even the Jihad and Hamas continue to gain strength. Hamas suffered a serious blow in "Cast Lead". It is keeping the peace. Today its capabilities are better than on the eve of the operation. Its arms smuggling capabilities and its defense alignment in the Strip have also improved.
"They are not seeking a victory over Israel. Victory for them is the few rockets they fire and the damage they cause. In 2010 the terror organizations will continue trying to strengthen and smuggle weapons. They are working to smuggle rockets with a range of 50km to the Strip, antitank and antimissile rockets…"