Islamic Jihad hits Gedera, schools remain closed (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV KATZ 03/13/12)
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“A lot depends on Hamas and Islamic Jihad but we are prepared for all
scenarios,” a top officer in the Southern Command said Monday night.
On Monday, nearly 50 rockets pounded Israel including several that
landed in Beersheba and Ashdod despite Iron Dome rocket-defense
batteries deployed nearby. The system succeeded in intercepting 11
rockets out of 18 throughout the day.
In total, over 200 rockets have been fired into Israel since
hostilities began on Friday, including 50 with ranges of over 20
kilometers. Some of the rockets were manufactured domestically in the
A senior IDF intelligence officer said that Islamic Jihad was
currently focused on “saving face” and creating a “victory image”
with which it will be able to claim that it defeated the IDF.
In reality, the officer said, Islamic Jihad has suffered heavy losses
throughout the four days of fighting, including over 20 dead
operatives and extensive damage to its terrorist infrastructure.
The officer said that Iran was actively encouraging Islamic Jihad to
continue firing rockets into Israel. According to the officer, Iran
was concerned that if Islamic Jihad stopped now, it would appear weak
and bruised for failing to exact a heavy price from Israel during the
current round. As a result, the terrorist group was under orders to
“The IDF will continue to protect Israeli citizens and will strike
all those who rise to attack us,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said
Monday. “Those who attack our civilians will be punished.”
The current round of violence began on Friday afternoon after Israel
assassinated the leader of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) in
the Gaza Strip who the IDF said was plotting an attack against Israel
along the Egyptian border.
The officer said that it was still unclear if the attack the PRC
leader had been plotting was foiled or if it was still underway.
According to the officer, Hamas was mostly “sitting on the sidelines”
and was not actively participating in the rocket attacks against
Israel. On the other hand, the officer said, Hamas is also not
working to prevent the rocket fire.
“It is possible for this round to end soon if Hamas and the Egyptians
step up their involvement in influencing Islamic Jihad,” the officer
The IDF said that 25 Palestinians, including three civilians, were
killed in the fighting since Friday. One of the dead was a 15-year-
old youth. Gaza medical officials said that another 74 have been
The senior officer from the Southern Command said that the IDF was
prepared for the possibility that Islamic Jihad would try to launch
one of the Iranian Fajr artillery rockets that it recently received
and which are capable of striking inside Tel Aviv.
“This is always a possibility but they understand what the
implications would be, although this does not mean that it will not
happen,” the officer said.
For the third day in a row, the IDF Home Front Command and the heads
of a number of local authorities in the South decided Monday night to
cancel school in all communities located between seven and 40
kilometers from the Gaza Strip.
The closure applies to Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheba, Netivot, Sderot,
Kiryat Malachi, Gedera, Rahat, Yavne, Lakiya and the Gan Yavne
Classes will still be held in the Brenner regional council, the town
of Yesodot, Bet Guvrin, Beit Nir, Gal-on, and Shomreyah.
The cancellation does not apply to schools in the western Negev that
are within 7 kilometers of the Gaza Strip.
Ben Hartman contributed to this report. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem
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