Mofaz okays resumption of targeted assassinations

Nir Hasson

Haaretz

Kislev 4, 5766

Following a recent upsurge in Palestinian rocket fire into Israel, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz on Monday approved a resumption of the practice of targeted assassinations of Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported.

The decision came after Palestinians fired three Qassam rockets into the western Negev from the Gaza Strip on Sunday evening.

The Qassam rockets landed in Shuva, a moshav about 7.5 kilometers from the border. One landed about 30 meters from a home in the agricultural community, causing some damage and sending a two women into shock. The other rockets caused no damage.

The Israel Defense Forces responded soon after by shelling the presumed launch sites in the northern Gaza Strip, while Israel Air Force jets set off sonic booms and fired missiles at the sites and at offices of an Islamic Jihad charity. The IDF said the charity was a front for the disbursement of payments to the families of dead militants and other terror-related activity.

IDF sources told Israel Radio that the the army would continue to use all means necessary to stop the attacks and protect Israeli citizens.

Unlike other communities near the border with Gaza, Shuva is not accustomed to Qassam attacks - only three rockets have fallen in the area to date. However, IDF officials said Sunday that Shuva is within the striking range of the Qassams.

Four families evacuated from Elei Sinai in Gush Katif in August said they intend to leave their temporary housing site at Kibbutz Carmia after a Qassam rocket landed in an open area about 200 meters from the site.

The trailer-home site on the kibbutz is currently home to 54 families from Elei Sinai and Nisanit. Sunday morning some of them demonstrated at the kibbutz entrance, calling the trailer homes "deathtraps."

"The houses at Elei Sinai were made of concrete," Sarit Bar said on Sunday. "Here we are living in a cardboard box. In the event of a hit the Qassam will come through the wall and explode on the floor. If there were security rooms like they promised, it would be different." Bar and her son left Carmia on Sunday to live with relatives in Ashdod.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for the rocket attack.

On Saturday, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz ordered the IDF to respond with severity to all Qassam strikes and mortar shellings from the Strip. Mofaz relayed a message to the Palestinians saying they should prevent the strikes.

The military said no one was injured in the Israeli airstrikes, but Palestinian security officials said a bystander was slightly wounded by flying shrapnel in the strike against the charity offices. They also said an abandoned metal workshop was hit, a claim the IDF did not confirm.