The latest Gaza terrorist truce lasted a grand total of six hours, from midnight to 6 a.m., when a missile was fired at Ashdod but missed exploding in populated or industrial areas and caused no injuries or damage.
Hamas earlier this week released a video of a rocket launch, as seen below.
Ashdod is Israel’s major southern Mediterranean port and home to oil refineries and dozens of oil storage tanks. A direct hit on the port could cause billions of dollars of damage to the economy, and an explosion in a concentrated residential area could result in dozens of deaths.
It is not clear if splinter terrorist groups are violating the self-imposed truce or whether Hamas and other terrorist organizations are testing whether they can occasionally attack Israel without retaliation.
The truce was announced on condition that Israel halt aerial bombings of terrorist sites in Gaza.
Egypt reportedly brokered the truce, but Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar of the Likud party said Tuesday morning that Israel is not involved in any talks with Hamas, whether direct or indirect.
He told Voice of Israel government radio, “We are prepared for attacks and the IDF attacked terrorist sites during the night. There has been a sharp escalation in missile strikes from Gaza the past year.”
Sa'ar said that a large-scale retaliation is “inevitable” but did not state whether there would be a maneuver similar to the Cast Lead counterterrorist operation four years ago.
Gaza terrorists have fired more than 1,000 rockets and mortar shells on southern Israel this year, an average of approximately three a day, including more than 100 downed by the Iron Dome anti-missile system and rockets that misfired and landed within the Gaza region.
In 2011, 676 aerial terrorist attacks were recorded by the IDF.
The number of rocket attacks was approximately half that number in 2009, when the IDF completed its three-week Cast Lead Operation, which ended with a total withdrawal of forces and broken promises by the Obama administration and the European Union to place monitors in Egypt to help prevent smuggling of weapons into Gaza.