Gaza terrorists continued to escalate attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers Wednesday afternoon. The IDF neutralized several roadside bombs but did not respond to three shooting attacks on civilians carrying out maintenance work at the Gaza separation fence and at soldiers patrolling the areas.
The IDF denied a stream of allegations that Israeli forces made incursions into northern Gaza, reported by the Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency, which has close ties with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority. The same news organization claimed Thursday that IDF bulldozers and armored helicopters destroyed farmland near Beit Hanoun. Military spokesmen said no bulldozers entered the area.
Abu Obeida, spokesman for the Al-Qassam Brigades military wing of Hamas, warned Israel that "if it carries out a new war on the Gaza Strip, the responses won't by words; it will be by fire and iron. The only language the Israeli enemy understands is the language of force. The daily incursions carried out by the Zionist enemy is [sic] part of a programmed aggression. They fear anything [that] moves near the borders, even trees, foliage or sands.”
Wednesday's attacks followed a an increasing number of mortar and gunfire attacks on Israel. Eight days ago, Hamas took responsibility for firing three mortar shells within a 24-hour period, one of the most intense assaults on Israel in months.
The IDF retaliated by bombing a tunnel, designed to help terrorists infiltrate into the western Negev. Arab terrorists responded the following day with a rocket attack on a Negev farm, causing no injuries or damage.
In Judea and Samaria, Jewish motorists have been subjected to daily terrorist attacks with firebombs and rocks, but the Israeli mainstream media has ignored most of the incidents despite damage to several vehicles. The army, under orders from Defense Minister Ehud Barak, has drastically reduced the number of roadblocks, checkpoints and patrols on highways.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has maintained that the PA has honored American Roadmap obligations that it halt violence and incitement. Keeping up an image that there is peace and quiet throughout Judea and Samaria strengthens the PA’s position in its demands, backed by U.S. President Barack Obama, that Israel stop all building for Jews in the areas where it wants to create a new Arab state.