Daily Israel Report

Hamas Rockets Return to Ashkelon; PA Terrorists Hit Samaria

Terrorists in Hamas-controlled Gaza and Fatah-controlled Samaria attacked Israel on the Sabbath. The IDF did not retaliate to a rocket strike.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 1/31/2009, 7:33 PM

Israel News Photo-Flash 90

Hamas continued to break its own truce on the Sabbath, firing a long-range Grad rocket at the southern edge of Ashkelon in the morning while terrorists in Samaria, controlled by the rival Fatah faction, shot at a soldier. The bullet ripped a hole in the soldier's clothing, but he miraculously escaped injury.

The rocket was at least the third, not including mortar shells, that hit southern Israel since Hamas announced a ceasefire after the IDF ended Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.  Residents took cover seconds before the strike as the Code Red siren warned of the incoming missile.

Unlike after previous ceasefire violations, Israel did not retaliate to the Sabbath morning attack. The attack came on the eve of more talks in Cairo, where Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas was summoned for an urgent meeting with Egyptian officials on Sunday.

United States Middle East envoy George C. Mitchell is scheduled to arrive in Cairo on the same day to discuss proposals for enforcing the Gaza ceasefire announced by Israel.

In northeastern Samaria, controlled by Abbas's Fatah faction, students at a yeshiva in Itamar disclosed that earlier in the week an Arab driver attempted to run over Jews who were hitchhiking on Highway 60. The hitchhikers were not hurt. Soldiers in a nearby watchtower spotted the terrorist, who was arrested.

Rock throwing terrorists attacked Jewish vehicles in the same area Saturday night, causing damage but no injuries.

Terrorists in the same area also may have fired Saturday evening at a soldier near Itamar, located approximately 25 miles north of Jerusalem. A bullet ripped through the clothing of a soldier, who escaped injury, but the IDF later said it was examining the possibility that the soldier faked the report in order to cover up an accidental discharge of a bullet.