Renewed Kassam Attack

After a brief period of relative calm, a Kassam was again fired at Israel. Terror group Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the attack.

Hana Levi Julian , | updated: 21:42

The rocket was launched from Gaza at the western Negev late Wednesday afternoon, landing near the industrial zone in Ashkelon. Terrorist organization Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the launch. There were no injuries or damage reported. The rocket landed in an open field near a strategic facility in the industrial zone, according to police.

A factory in the same area was hit a few days earlier, with damage but no injuries reported, other than one person treated for shock.

Defense Minister Amir Peretz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee earlier in the day that Hamas had “gotten the message” about Israel’s intent to put an end to the attacks, one way or the other. Israel had warned the Palestinian Authority leadership through international sources that a wide-scale IDF attack was imminent if the rocket attacks did not cease immediately.

“It has been quiet over the past day,” Peretz told the committee, “and Kassams weren’t fired at Sderot.” He said that Hamas had taken control of the situation and put an end to the rocket fire. “Apparently, the messages we sent were effective, and Hamas ordered its people to stop launching the Kassams,” he commented.

Peretz added, however, that Israel's tolerance was at an end. "From this moment on, there will no longer be a sliding scale of the number of Kassams until we retaliate," he said.

Facility workers were warned of the attack late in the day after security officers were notified of through a beeper system. “We entered secured areas situated under cement blocks which were recently delivered,” said a worker at the site. “We stayed there until we were instructed to leave.”

The workers heard an explosion in the area, he said, and then returned to their jobs as usual. The attack came after a 24-hour period of calm in which there was quiet in the region.

According to IDF sources, more than 107 rockets have been fired at southern Israeli communities since last Friday. The attacks came in retaliation for the deaths of seven PA Arab family members who were killed in an explosion on a Gaza beach. Israel was blamed for the deaths, which came within hours of an IDF attack on launching sites in Gaza.

An investigation into Friday’s incident determined the tragedy was caused by a PA explosive. The conclusion reached by investigators was substantiated by the foreign-made pieces of shrapnel removed from injured victims treated in Israeli hospitals.