Israel Bracing for Attacks after End of ´Cease-Fire´

Israeli security personnel were on highest possible alert Saturday night against a renewal of terrorist attacks, following the December 31 culmination of the 10-month "quiet." <BR><br/><BR><br/>

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Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu,

The IDF killed two Arab terrorists late Saturday night after they were spotted trying to launch a rocket attack against Israel. Earlier Saturday, terrorists fired at least one Kassam rocket on the western Negev. It exploded in an open area on the northern edge of the Negev town of Sderot.

Terrorist organizations agreed in late February to halt attacks conditionally, but have announced several times, following Israeli strikes against "ticking bombs" which the Palestinian Authority (PA) has not stopped, that the agreement is not in effect.

The end of the year has been stated by the terrorist organizations as the expiry of their agreement if Israel did not turn over more Arab cities to the PA and free more prisoners and convicted terrorists.

Terrorist groups have pounced on the December 31 date as a warrant for them to intensify attacks, and Israeli officials fear they will try to prove their point while Israelis are filling entertainment places on Saturday night.

"We in the Islamic Jihad and resistance factions are free of commitment to this calm," Islamic Jihad leader Khader Habib told Reuters News Agency., although it has continued to carry out suicide attacks, such as Thursday's bombing which killed an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint and was intended for a major population center.

"The truce is dead. By continuing its assassinations and occupation, Israel killed it long before it actually expired," said Abu Qusai, a spokesman for the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorists, part of the PA's ruling Fatah movement. A Hamas terrorist spokesman added, "Hamas and Qassam (the armed wing) will deal with any Zionist attack against our people in a suitable manner and in that way preserve the election process and preserve Palestinian blood."

Meanwhile, anarchy continued in Gaza, with 50 armed and masked gunmen of the ruling Fatah party storming post offices and a PA office to demand jobs. No one was injured.

The Rafiah crossing resumed operations after European Union (EU) observers fled when terrorists raided the compound on Friday to protest the killing of a policeman in a gun battle the previous day. Terrorists set up positions nearby.

"There is a checkpoint set up 200 meters outside the outer gate. We understand that it is manned by several police. It is not affecting our work," according to EU spokesman Julio de la Guardia.

Terrorists also have released the British human rights worker and her parents who had been abducted and held for two days.