• PM Ehud Olmert (Sept 3): "Rocket barrages have once again been launched on Sderot. They threatened the wellbeing of kindergarten children in this rocket-battered town, which has been exposed to the terror groups' brutality for over five years. We will not put up with this attack. The IDF has been instructed to destroy all launchers and target anyone involved in the attacks. We will hit all those in the chain of command who harbor terrorists and act against the State of Israel."
• A-Zahar: The rocket barrage of Sderot is a Hamas strategy
From interview with former Hamas foreign minister Mahmoud A-Zahar, 21 Aug 2007
The interviewer asked why Hamas chose to stop suicide bombings two years ago.
A-Zahar: "Which do you think is more effective, martyrdom operations or rockets against Sderot? Rockets against Sderot will cause mass migration, greatly disrupt daily lives and government administration and can make a much huger impact on the government. We are using the methods that convince the Israelis that their occupation is costing them too much."
"We are succeeding with the rockets. We have no losses and the impact on the Israeli side is so much."
Source: Conflict Blotter - News, analysis and original reporting on the Middle East
Conflict Blotter is written by Charles Levinson, currently Mideast Correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph.
Kassam launchers found in Bet Hanoun in Gaza - Sept 5
• IDF targets Kassam launchers
Joint IDF ground troops operating in northern Gaza on September 5 uncovered four Kassam rockets ready for launch, in a civilian industrial zone near Beit Hanoun, adjacent to a cow shed. Seven more launchers were uncovered later in the day.
Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip continue to fire Kassam rockets and mortar shells at Sderot and the western Negev. Among the recent attacks:
- On Sunday morning (7 Oct 2007), Palestinian terrorists in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip fired a Grad missile, which landed near the southern Israeli town of Netivot - about 15 km inside Israeli territory. The 122 mm Grad heavy artillery rocket, apparently produced in the former Soviet Union and smuggled into Gaza from Egypt, is an improved version of the infamous Katyusha rocket recently used by the Hizbullah to bombard northern Israel from Lebanese territory. The use of this weapon marks a significant escalation in the Palestinian campaign of terror against Israeli civilians, both in the range of the missile and the destructive force of the missile's warhead.
- On the eve of the Sukkot holiday (26 Sept) a particularly high number of rocket and mortar attacks was recorded: nine rockets and 22 mortar shells.
- 69 Israeli soldiers were wounded when a Kassam rocket launched from the area of the Palestinian town of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza landed at an IDF basic training base near Kibbutz Zikkim in the western Negev at around 1:30 am (11 September). The rocket landed directly on an empty mess tent used in the daytime. Soldiers sleeping in adjacent tents were wounded by shrapnel. One IDF soldier was critically wounded, four seriously wounded, seven moderately wounded and 57 lightly wounded.
The Salah a-Din Brigades - the military arm of the Public Resistance Committees - and the Islamic Jihad both claimed responsibility for the attack. Islamic Jihad operatives celebrated the attack in their mosques in Gaza later Tuesday morning.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, speaking on Hamas radio, praised the rocket attack on an Israeli army base, calling it a "victory from God":
"We consider this a victory from God for the resistance. We consider the resistance as the legitimate right of the Palestinians to defend themselves and restore their rights."
- A Kassam rocket fired from Gaza landed near a high school in Sderot Thursday afternoon (6 September). A house was slightly damaged in the attack. Another rocket landed in a field outside town.
- At 7:50 Monday morning (3 September) when thousands of children were on their way to school, Kassam rockets were fired at Sderot. One landed in a courtyard between a day care center and an elementary school. Twelve children, who were on their way to school, suffered from shock and were evacuated to Ashkelon for treatment. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks, calling them "a gift for the opening of the school year."
Israel submits protest on Kassam attacks to UN (4 Sept)
- A Kassam rocket launched from the northern Gaza Strip landed directly on the bedroom of a house in Sderot (28 August). The residents had heard the alarm and entered their secure room before the rocket struck. A passerby was moderately wounded in the eye by shrapnel, and several were treated for shock.
Sderot home damaged by a direct kassam rocket hit on Friday, August 24, 2007
(Photo by Rafael Ben-Ari/Chameleons Eye)
- A Kassam rocket fired from northern Gaza towards Israel hit a Sderot vehicle (25 August), destroying it completely.
- Eight Kassam rockets landed in Sderot and the Negev area (23 August). One hit the Timsit family home in Sderot. Family members, who heard the Color Red alarm, were in the secure room when the rocket smashed through the living room's ceiling, and were not harmed. Two women were treated for anxiety. The Al-Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad's military wing, claimed responsibility.
- Palestinian terror groups launched a Kassam rocket from northern Gaza (21 August), which landed in a factory near the town of Sderot. No injuries were reported but damage was caused to the factory.
Sderot child with fragment of rocket that hit a kindergarden on Tuesday, August 21, 2007
(Photo by Rafael Ben-Ari/Chameleons Eye)
- Palestinians in north Gaza fired two Kassams toward Israel (21 August). One rocket struck a vacant Na'amat daycare center in the western Negev city of Sderot, causing slight damage to the building. A woman living nearby suffered from shock as a result of the attack. The daycare center was empty during the August summer holiday. The second Kassam landed near a gas station outside the city.
- Two Kassam rockets landed near a western Negev kibbutz (19 August). There were no reports of injuries. The Islamic Jihad's military wing, the al-Quds Brigades, claimed responsibility. Three mortar shells were later fired from the northern Strip, landing in an open area near Kibbutz Kissufim. Earlier Sunday, two Kassam rockets landed in open areas in the Eshkol Regional Council in the southern western Negev.
- Palestinians gunmen (17 August) fired three Kassam rockets and 12 mortar shells from the northern Gaza Strip toward southern Israel. The al-Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad's military wing, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire. One rocket landed near Sderot. Another rocket hit a kibbutz south of Asheklon. A third rocket launched several minutes later landed near a community in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council.
* * * *
Since the Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in mid-June 2007, 213 missiles have been fired at Israeli cities, as follows:
From Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip in mid-August 2005 until the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip 1,826 missiles were fired into Israeli territory from Gaza, as follows:
15 August - 31 December 2005: 270
1 January - 31 December 2006: 1020
1 January - 14 June 2007: 536
Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip continues as the preferred modus operandi of the Palestinian terrorist organizations. Most of the rockets are locally manufactured and have an approximate maximum range of 9 kilometers (6 miles), although some have a range of 12.5 kilometers (7 ¾ miles). In addition, also launched were a number of standard 122 mm rockets with a range of 20.4 kilometers (12 2/3 miles) which had been smuggled into the Gaza Strip.
Since the disengagement there has been a sharp increase in the number of rockets launched at the western Negev. (Until the disengagement, massive rocket fire was aimed at the Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip.) The preferred targets during 2006 were the city of Sderot and civilians living in settlements in the western Negev, although attempts were made to launch rockets as far away as Ashkelon.
In 2006, 861 rockets were fired at population centers in the western Negev, as compared with 222 in 2005 and 268 in 2004 (not including rockets fired at Israeli settlements inside the Gaza Strip).
In May 2007, Palestinians launched some 300 Kassam rockets from Gaza at Sderot and the western Negev. Hamas openly claimed responsibility for the attack.