Kassam rocket struck near Ashkelon
Kassam rocket struck near AshkelonFlash 90

The 28th Kassam attack since the "virtual ceasefire" that began on June 19 broke weeks of quiet near Ashkelon Tuesday night. No damage or injuries were reported.


The latest Kassam attack came amid rising tension in Gaza, where Hamas said that it foiled an assassination of one of its leaders. The terrorist group accused "fifth-columnists" of planting a bomb near the home of one of its commanders as a way of interfering with Egyptian attempts to forge an agreement between Hamas and Fatah, led by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.


The truce has been violated nearly 50 times by Gaza terrorists who have fired mortar shells and shot at IDF soldiers patrolling the Gaza separation barrier.


In response, Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered that the Gaza crossings be closed on Wednesday, the same retaliation he has ordered after previous Arab violations of the tenuous ceasefire. Under normal circumstances, Israeli lets through each day scores of truckloads of humanitarian aid from world aid organizations and supplies from Israeli companies.

The rocket landed in the fields of a kibbutz near the port city of Ashkelon, where strategic facilities are located. The Color Red early warning system was sounded.


Despite the relative quiet over the past several weeks, city security squads have routinely carried out training exercises in expectation of further violations of the temporary truce, which was to last six months.


Defense Minister Barak told Gaza Belt community leaders earlier this week, "The ceasefire is fragile by its very nature, but we have nothing to regret. The ceasefire lasted longer than expected and may continue."


Hamas said earlier this week said it will agree to extend the truce on condition that it also applies to Judea and Samaria and on condition that the Rafiah crossing at the Egyptian border is re-opened. Israel has refused to re-open it until Hamas releases kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who was abducted in June, 2007.