For the third time in eight days, Palestinian Authority terrorists violated the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Israel Thursday afternoon in an attack the Fatah-aligned Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade operatives claimed was meant to force Israel to expand the agreement to include Judea and Samaria.

The terrorists fired a Kassam rocket from northern Gaza toward the direction of the western Negev city of Sderot shortly after 1:00 p.m., the third violation since the tahadiyeh, or temporary truce went into effect one week ago. 

 Hamas sources in Gaza responded that Al Aqsa fired the rocket in order to imply that Hamas is not maintaining the truce.

Arab media claimed that Israel committed several violations of the truce in Gaza and shot two local farmers. The IDF and Israeli media reported no such incidents.

Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council Head: 'It's Very Sad'

The landing site of the rocket was subsequently identified as the Sha'ar HaNegev Industrial Park.  No one was injured, and no property damage was reported.

"People are not panicking, and the frustration is not so deep, because most people did not have such high expectations," said Alon Schuster, head of the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council in an interview with Israel National News.

"It's very sad. The [PA Arabs] keep losing any opportunity they have; they're the first people to get hurt by these terrorists. I know them -- some of them are my friends. But until their government is willing to accept the existence of the Zionist state in their midst, they will keep suffering, and the inhabitants will not be able to live like they deserve."

No Decision Yet on Response

Prime Minister Ehud Omert's spokesman Mark Regev told Israel National News that no decisions had yet been made on a response to the attack. "We'll wait and see. Obviously we'll be having discussions," he said.

Israel limited its retaliation to the previous attacks by closing the Gaza crossings for two days, which had been opened in accordance with the agreement. 

Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with security officials Thursday afternoon to discuss possible responses to the attack. Ministry sources said that Israel would probably keep the crossings into Gaza closed on Friday for the third straight day in retaliation.

Islamic Jihad terrorists announced that they would consider Israel as having violated the tahadiyeh, or temporary truce, if the Gaza crossings remained closed. IDF soldiers spotted the terrorists cell that had launched the attack, immediately following the barrage of three Kassam rockets fired at Sderot on Tuesday, but did not open fire.

Two Israeli civilians suffered shrapnel wounds and a number of others were treated for severe emotional shock, included several children.

No Changes at the Gaza Crossings

According to IDF Major Peter Lerner, Defense Ministry Coordinator for Government Activities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, the Erez crossing has remained open for movement of Gaza residents who receive medical care in pre-1967 Israel, and will continue to do so.

All other Gaza crossings were closed again Thursday for the second day running following Tuesday's rocket barrage, and Lerner said he did not yet know if the crossings would open Friday, given the events of the day.

"I don't know if there will be any change tomorrow," he told Israel National News. "We're waiting to see if there will be any directive in that regard." Lerner said he didn't expect to have a final answer until Thursday night.