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Security Cabinet Nixes Massive Anti-Kassam Offensive, For Now

The local offensives in Gaza will continue, but a major military campaign to end the daily Kassam rocket fire will not be undertaken. Two rockets were launched this morning, causing no damage.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 11/22/2006, 11:38 AM / Last Update: 11/22/2006, 1:23 PM

One of the Kassams fired this morning landed near a school in Sderot, and the other landed in an open area. At least three rockets were fired at the area last night, also causing no damage.

It was announced that the army would continue its local anti-Kassam activities, and will also act to deal with the arms-smuggling across and under the Philadelphi Route between Sinai and Gaza.

Yaakov Yaakobov, the Sderot factory worker who was mortally wounded by a Kassam Tuesday morning, died last night of his wounds. His funeral is set for early Wednesday afternoon. Yaakobov, 44, father of two, is the 13th casualty of Kassam fire in Israel, and the 8th Sderot resident to be killed by the rockets. His son is scheduled to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah next month.

Sderot residents held a noisy protest, for the second straight day, against the government's helplessness in stopping the unceasing rocket attacks on their city. Thousands of students at the local Sapir College took part in the protest today, demanding that their dorms and buildings be protected against rockets.

Over 70 rockets have struck the Sderot and western Negev areas in the past nine days, claiming two lives and seriously injuring others. A growing number of residents are suffering from various symptoms, and increased anxieties and bed-wetting by children is being reported. Markets and stores are nearly empty, and many children do not go to school, as the fear of a rocket that can hit anywhere at any time paralyzes much of the city's daily life.

An IDF soldier was wounded today when Arabs fired an anti-tank rocket at the northern Gaza building in which his unit was stationed. He is listed in moderate condition in Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva, to which he was flown by helicopter. Gazan Arabs attacked IDF forces - who are attempting to thwart Kassam rocket fire - several times today, while three terrorists were reported hit by IDF fire as they were trying to place a bomb. Three soldiers were lightly wounded over the past several days.

Agriculture Minister Shalom Simchon of Labor, not known for his right-wing or militaristic views, said today there will be no alternative other than a widespread military operation in Gaza. "There is no reason to agree to a ceasefire if it will enable the terrorists to continue arming themselves," he told Voice of Israel Radio.