Terrorist Attacks Continue, IAF and IDF Hit Back

PA terrorists in Gaza fired 35 mortar shells and 25 Kassam rockets at the western Negev this week. The IAF hit back with air strikes.

Hana Levi Julian ,

Jewish communities in the western Negev had to live through another week-long spate of attacks by Palestinian Authority (PA) terrorists in Gaza this week.

Several of the attacks were carried out by members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist group, sponsored by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction. Some 35 mortar shells and Kassam rockets were fired from Gaza, according to the IDF.

Several people suffered shock and a building was damaged when a rocket exploded in an industrial area in the western Negev. A number of cars in Sderot were also damaged in one of the three attacks fired at Israel by Gaza terrorists on Thursday.

In response, two terrorists were eliminated and two others were wounded in two IAF air strikes and IDF ground operations after they launched a rocket attack earlier in the day. The four were members of Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades.

One soldier was wounded while his engineering unit was working on the separation barrier, where terrorists often plant bombs and stage ambushes.

By a majority of 37-23, the Knesset approved the first reading of three readings of a measure to exact the cost of damages caused by rocket attacks from the PA, despite the opposition of the coalition government. The bills would be paid from customs duties collected by Israel on behalf of the PA. Portions of the PA's electricity debts have sometimes been collected from these sums.

PA terrorists also targeted Israeli civilians in Judea and Samaria in dozens of attacks throughout the week, hurling rocks and explosive devices at Israeli motorists. At least two people were wounded and several vehicles were damaged in the attacks.

Jacob Walles, the American consul general in Jerusalem, claimed that the PA is tackling the problem of terrorism in Shechem (Nablus), which shares the title of "terror capital of Israel" with Jenin. The United States has a vested interest in success in Shechem, where the PA has deployed several hundred policemen trained by American military envoy Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton.

Government officials met Thursday to discuss Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plan to free up to 400 PA terrorists and security prisoners in another "goodwill gesture" to prop up the Abbas government in advance of the Mideast summit to be held in Annapolis.

Government sources said the list would not include terrorists with "blood on their hands," but in the past, terrorists were freed who had planned murderous attacks carried out by others. The officials said the latest list would also not include members of the Hamas terrorist organization that took over Gaza in June.

The Prime Minister is expected to make a final decision on who when and which terrorists will be freed prior to the Annapolis conference, less than two weeks from now.