Kassam rocket
Kassam rocket Israel news photo: Flash 90

Two Kassam missile attacks on a Negev kibbutz Tuesday evening broke Hamas’s promise to halt all terrorist attacks. No injuries or damage were reported, and the IDF has not retaliated – yet.

Two weeks ago, fearing a repeat of the three-week Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign that ended in January 2009, Hamas pledged to pull the reins on it terrorists and those of rival groups who were staging daily rocket, mortar and roadside attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers.

The Gaza area had been relatively free from aerial attacks since then, except for a couple of mortar and Kassam attacks. On the ground, terrorists have continued to try to plant roadside bombs at the Gaza security/separation fence, although the number has declined.

The Israeli military has carried out a tit-for-tat retaliation policy for nearly two years, striking Hamas following every terrorist attack. However, the IDF escalated its counterterrorist operations earlier this month by bombing Hamas terrorist outposts for the first time since the end of Cast Lead. Previous retaliation had been limited to striking weapons manufacturing factories, smuggling tunnels and “ticking bombs,”, a term which refers to terrorists preparing bomb or rocket attacks.

Last year, Gaza-based terrorists fired nearly 250 Grad missiles, Kassam rockets and mortar shells on Israelis, in addition to hundreds of attempts to plant roadside bombs, designed to explode during IDF patrols.