Terrorists from Hamas-controlled Gaza attacked the Negev twice Monday morning with Kassam rockets, sparking a fire and sending residents back into shelters. A rocket also struck southern Israel late Sunday night. No one was injured in the latest round of attacks that have returned western Negev residents to an eight-year-old routine of panic and trauma.
One rocket Monday morning exploded in the Sdot Negev area, setting fire to a field of cactuses. The same area was targeted shortly before midnight with a Kassam. The other morning missile attack was on the Sha'ar Negev region, adjacent to Sderot, causing no injuries or damage.
Operation 'Cast Lead', launched at the end of December, was aimed at destroying the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza and stopping rocket attacks. The Olmert administration ordered the IDF to end the war against terror after three weeks, claiming it had accomplished its objective.
Israel has held Hamas responsible for continuing rocket fire and generally has retaliated for each attack. However, the targeted retaliation has not changed the tactics of Hamas, which simultaneously is negotiating with Israel through Egyptian mediators for another declared truce.
Knesset Member Yuval Steinitz (Likud), former chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, has charged that "tit-for-tat" responses by the IDF are equivalent "to punching holes in the sand." The Likud had called for the IDF to remain in Gaza and continue to attack Hamas in order to topple the Hamas terrorist organization's grip on the area.