IDF spokeswoman Avital Leibovich reported, on Sunday, that 39 rockets and mortars had been fired at Israel, from the Gaza Strip, within a span of 24 hours. The Iron Dome rocket defense system intercepted two Grad rockets fired toward Gan Yavne.
The Jerusalem Post has reported one casualty and four wounded due to a barrage of rockets fired by Islamic Jihad, from Gaza, on Saturday. Containment was attempted on Saturday, by Security chiefs, with the Air Force going into action, striking terror cells in northern and southern Gaza. The IAF attacked six targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday night, according to a press release from the IDF. Additionally, in the northern Gaza Strip it attacked three terror tunnels and three rocket launchers, and in the northern Gaza Strip it launched an assault on two centers of terrorist activity.
Ten Islamic Jihad members have been confirmed dead by the IDF as of Saturday. Another terrorist, in southern Gaza, who was in the process of initiating a rocket attack, was also struck from the air on Saturday night. Moreover, a cell in northern Gaza was also hit by the Air Force.
On Saturday, 35 projectiles, including Grads and mortar shells, were fired at southern communities, striking Ashdod, Ashkelon and regional councils across the region. Some buildings in the area suffered extensive damage due to the rocket attacks.
In response to the escalation, the IDF struck a rocket-launching cell in Rafah, in the southern Strip, killing two terrorists, according to The Jerusalem Post. The Army has maintained that “Hamas is responsible for what takes place in Gaza.”
Ashdod sustained the worst of the attacks, having been targeted by at least three Grad rockets. One hit an empty school and in another instance, a rocket hit Gan Yavne Regional Council and wounded a man who was trying to locate his son.
The IDF, in coordination with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), identified and besieged an Islamic Jihad rocket cell in Gaza earlier on Saturday, killing five terrorists, including senior Islamic Jihad commander Ahmed Sheikh Khalil, who was responsible for Islamic Jihad’s rocket production facilities.
Army sources reveal that this particular cell is responsible for the unprovoked long-range Grad that struck near Rehovot last week. Ostensibly, that rocket was launched to mark the anniversary of the 1995 assassination, in Malta, of Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shikaki. Shikaki was the first person to publish a booklet that legitimized suicide in jihad.
Channel 10 News, in Israel, reports that on Saturday night, Islamic Jihad’s Quds Brigades said the first wave of rockets was its “initial response” to the strike on its rocket cell and that “the enemy should expect the worst in the coming hours.”
Islamic Jihad is Iran’s closest proxy in the Palestinian territories, as has been the case for a long time. Police have issued an alert to the public (the second highest level) and people have been advised to avoid rocket impact zones.
Regarding a ceasefire, on Sunday morning Islamic Jihad, according to a report from DEBKAfile, denied knowledge of a truce Egypt called for at 6:00 a.m on Sunday. And, by 07:00 a.m. Islamic Jihad had launched eleven Grad missiles and two mortar rounds from the Gaza Strip at Ashdod, Gan Yavne, Lahavim, Ashkelo, Kiryat Malachi, Rahat and Shear Hanegev.
DEBKAfile describes two significant concerns arising from Cairo’s ceasefire initiative:
1. The Jihad Islami, which takes its orders and funding from Iran, will ignore the ceasefire and redouble its missile offensive against Israel to show Cairo and Jerusalem who has the whip hand. A sharp Israeli response would place the truce breakdown at Israel’s door.
2. Jihad Islami will decide whether or not to continue its attacks depending on its orders from Damascus and Tehran rather than Cairo. They will decide if it is worth their while for Egypt’s rulers to walk off with the success of damping down a major escalation.
Syrian ruler Bashar Assad hardly signaled a pacific intent when, in an interview to the Sunday Telegraph of October 30, he warned the West against intervening in the popular uprising raging against his regime:
“Syria is the hub now in this region. It is the fault line, and if you play with the ground you will cause an earthquake … Do you want to see another Afghanistan, or tens of Afghanistans?
“Any problem in Syria will burn the whole region.”
At any rate, the IDF is not waiting for Gaza terrorists to decide on the next move on the military chessboard, says IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai.
Arutz Sheva reports that the army “wasn’t waiting for a decision” when the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization allegedly agreed to a ceasefire, he said. When Israeli fighter pilots spotted terrorists preparing a fresh attack in violation of that very agreement within a few hours, the IDF was ready with an air strike to stop them in their tracks.