Third One This Week: Kassam Rocket in Sderot

For the 3rd time in a week, Hamas Authority terrorists fired a rocket at Israel's Negev - this one at Sderot. Israel to transfer shekels to Hamas.

Hillel Fendel,

Kassam rockets return?
Kassam rockets return?

Shortly after 4 PM on Monday, Arab terrorists in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket at the Negev city of Sderot.  The emergency Color Red warning alarm system was sounded, sending the residents into a rush towards the nearest shelter - a repeat of scenes they had gotten used to over the course of years, but have hardly experienced over the past several weeks of ceasefire. 

The rocket landed near a nursery school in the town, but claimed no casualties and caused no damage.

The IDF Spokesman's office said this was the 40th Hamas violation of the seven-week-old ceasefire. In response, Israel has announced that crossings into Gaza will be closed on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

Hamas Utilizes Truce
Defense experts have warned for months that a ceasefire with Hamas, while giving the beleaguered residents of Sderot and nearby communities a respite from daily rocket attacks, would benefit Hamas in the long run.  Hamas has reportedly been using this period to build up its military capabilities against Israel, to be employed the day Hamas decides to end the truce. 

Yuval Diskin, head of the General Security Services (Shabak), said that in the first month of the ceasefire, four tons of explosives, 50 anti-tank rockets, dozens of other weapons and materials for the production of Kassam rockets had been smuggled into Gaza.

Similarly, Shabak sources say Hamas is exploiting the ceasefire to carry out large-scale training exercises, as well as build fortifications and underground rocket-launching platforms.

Two Other Kassams
The terrorists have fired at least two other Kassam rockets in the past several days, one landing in open area in the western Negev, and one not far from a gathering of former Gush Katif residents commemorating the third anniversary of their expulsion.  No one was hurt in either attack.

Money to Hamas
Defense Minister Ehud Barak has acceded to a Palestinian Authority request to allow 72 million shekels to be transferred from a bank in Tel Aviv to a bank in Gaza.  Barak said the PA promised the money, needed because of a cash-flow shortage in Gaza following large cash withdrawals by Hamas elements, would not be used for terrorism purposes, but only for salaries.  Diplomatic sources in Israel expressed skepticism that the PA leaders could actually control or guarantee the destination of the money.