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      Rocket Fire a 'Dramatic Development'

      The IDF says the quantity and rate of fire from Gaza is unprecedented; notes terrorists are actively using civilians as human shields.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 3/12/2012, 9:46 PM

      IDF officials say the 200 rockets fired at Israel's southern communities since Friday marks a “dramatic development in terms of the quantity and rate of the fire.”

      “In the first three days of the current round of fighting we’ve sustained a larger quantity of rockets than the quantity fired at Israel in the two previous rounds, in August and October, which were longer,” an army official said.

      More than 50 of the rockets fired in recent days were medium-range missiles, and most attacks were carried out by the Islamic Jihad, the army said. Military sources said there had been no attempts to target central Israel with long-range rockets to date.

      Hamas, which rules Gaza, has refused to actively stop the rocket fire while at the same time saying it will not "indemnify" the terror groups against an Israeli response.

      Hamas officials continue to claim they have no responsibility for rocket attacks emanating from their enclave, which Israeli officials reject saying they hold Hamas responsible for every rocket fired from Gaza.

      Egypt has reportedly offered to provide fuel to offset Gaza's ongoing power crisis in exchange for quiet, but neither Hamas nor its local terror confederates have responded to the offer.

      Senior security officials in Jerusalem believe Islamic Jihad and its terror confederates - which they say include Fatah members in Gaza - will not stop firing rockets until they deal Israel's civilian population a significant blow.

      “Islamic Jihad views its blows to Israel as highly limited given the success of Iron dome,” the IDF said. “The various organizations are currently trying to produce an image of victory.”

      Iron Dome has, thus far, intercepted 90% of the incoming rockets targeting Israel's southern communities.

      Israeli officials also laid the rising body-count of Gaza residents killed in Israeli pre-emptive and retaliatory strikes – 25 thus far – squarely on the shoulders of the terror groups, saying they are using civilians as “human shields.”

      “Civilians who were not taking part in hostilities have been wounded in an Air Force strike on a terrorist cell launching medium-range rockets from a populated area in the northern Gaza Strip,” the IDF Spokesman’s Office said.

      “This incident demonstrates that terrorist groups in Gaza use human shields and fire rockets from densely populated areas,” the statement added.

      Earlier Monday, an IDF strike that killed two terrorists who were in the process of launching a medium-range in the vicinity of a school in northern Gaza also resulted in the injury of civilians passing near the cell when the strike was launched.