Kassams Hit, Gov’t Negotiates

Gaza terrorists broke a Hamas vow to halt rocket attacks and hit the Negev as the government nears a deal to free terrorists for Shalit.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu , | updated: 08:16

Kassam rocket explodes near kibbutz
Kassam rocket explodes near kibbutz
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Terrorists from Gaza, where Hamas vowed three days ago there would be a total halt to rocket attacks, struck the Western Negev while the government continues to near a deal to free hundreds of terrorists for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

No one was wounded, and no damage was reported in the missile explosions in the Shaar HaNegev region, where rocket-battered Sderot is located. The Air Force retaliated near dawn Tuesday and hit a weapons warehouse and two tunnels used for smuggling weapons, merchandise and terrorists.

One day after the Hamas announcement of a ceasefire, following more than 275 mortar and rocket attacks since the end of the Operation Cast Lead campaign, the Islamic Jihad immediately denied having agreed to a ceasefire. The Hamas statement was considered a sign that an agreement with Israel is imminent for the release of up to 1,400 terrorists and prisoners, many of who whom are serving life sentences in jail for involvement with lethal attacks, including suicide bombings, on Israelis.

Media pressure and continuing rumors from Arab newspapers forced Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to break his self-imposed silence on negotiations Monday, and he insisted that no deal has been completed.

The Cabinet must vote on any deal, and the Prime Minister is working behind closed doors to make sure that an agreement will not be rejected, as happened to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert just before left the government nearly a year ago. Military and security officials convinced ministers that the proposed deal would endanger the security of the country by allowing terrorists to return to violence.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also said the Knesset will discuss any proposal, but he did not indicate he would seek approval from the legislators.