Rain of Mortar Shells, Rockets on Negev
Gaza-based terrorists fired four Kassam rockets and some 25 mortar shells at Israeli towns in the western Negev Wednesday morning.
Though ten shells fells short and landed within Hamas-controlled Gaza, others landed near the Kissufim and Erez crossings, and 11 of them fell in the Ein HaShlosha area. Kassam rockets landed near Or HaNer and Mefalsim, in the Sderot area, and near the border fence. No injuries were reported.
One of the shells landed in the water supply of one of the towns - left unnamed for security reasons - and caused damage. Kibbutz Kerem Shalom reports that hundreds of mortar shells have landed in and around the kibbutz in recent weeks.
A military committee set up by Defense Minister Ehud Barak recommends, among other things, that Israel reduce the electricity it supplies to Gaza by seven megawatt-hours following every Kassam rocket attack. The recommendation follows the Cabinet decision of last week defining Hamas-run Gaza as a "hostile entity."
Other committee-recommended means of retaliation for rocket attacks include stopping the supply of mazut (a type of diesel fuel used to produce electricity), and - in the event of a rocket attack on a border crossing - closing the crossing for 48 hours.
Air Strike Response
IAF aircraft attacked a group of north Gazan terrorists Wednesday morning as they prepared to launch a rocket in the area of Beit Hanoun. Two terrorists were reported wounded in the attack.
Christians Under Attack in Gaza
The 2,500 remaining Christians in Gaza have been under attack of late. An 80-year-old Christian woman was recently robbed by a man demanding, "Where is the money, heretic?" Her family members said the "robber would never have dared to attack a Moslem woman that way." The attack followed a brutal break-in of a Christian church and school several weeks ago. Stocking-clad men hurling grenades blew open the entrances and stole computers and religious items. They also smashed many crucifixes in the buildings.
Seven wanted terrorists were arrested throughout Judea and Samaria overnight Wednesday. Four of the arrested were made in the Arab village of Atra, north of Ramallah, one in Ramallah itself and another in a small village west of the city. The seventh terrorist, apprehended in Shechem, was involved in the lynching of two IDF reservists in 2000.
Terrorists targeted in soldiers in Jenin with a bomb, and in Shechem’s Ein Beit Ilma slums, where the IDF has been operating for over a week, terrorists opened fire on troops. No injuries were reported in either incident.
On Tuesday, an Arab terrorist attempted to enter the Machpelah Cave (Tomb of the Patriarchs) in Hevron. The man was armed with a large knife and was apprehended by Border Police.
Closure for Holiday
In light of the many terrorist-attack intelligence warnings, IDF officials have announced a closure on Judea and Samaria during the week-long Sukkot holiday, which begins Wednesday night. Arab residents of the area who do not hold Israeli citizenship will not be allowed to enter Israeli towns for the next week.
Spokesmen explained that the closure was meant to reduce the chances of terrorist attacks in major Israeli cities. Judea and Samaria are often under closure during holidays, when terrorist groups increase their efforts to murder civilians.
As in last week's closure over Yom Kippur, however, there is a long list of exceptions, including several professions as well as all those employed by the United Nations and non-governmental aid organizations.