Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Kassams fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel

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While the border between Gaza and Israel has been relatively calm since mid-April, the latest rocket attacks into Israel from Gaza suggest that violence in that area may again escalate.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Wednesday morning a Kassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in a field near a kibbutz in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. On Tuesday evening, two Kassam rockets were fired from Gaza, exploding in Sdot Negev Regional Council. One of the rockets lightly damaged a home, exploding just a few metres away from it, while the other landed in open space. Late last week, an IDF soldier was lightly wounded by an explosive device that was detonated near his vehicle along the Gaza border fence.

Ynet News reported that Sdot Negev Regional Council is concerned that the rocket attacks will escalate. Sdot Negev Regional Council head Meir Yifrach said, "I guess we're seeing the results of the upcoming September declaration," referring to the Palestinian Authority intention to appeal to the UN for a unilateral statehood declaration. He also said:

"The assessment is that there will be an escalation in violence ahead of September but I hope this will be proved false and this period goes by in peace, especially since the kids are on vacation."

The head of Shaar Hanegev Regional Council, Alon Schuster, also expressed fear of escalating violence. He said:

"It appears the regime in Gaza is setting itself free of the restraints it took upon itself after the anti-tank missile fired at the school bus in April".

In early April, tensions increased after an Israeli yellow school bus was deliberately targeted with an anti-tank missile from Gaza, killing Israeli sixteen year old Daniel Viflic. Hamas issued a press release claiming responsibility for the attack. Israel responded with air strikes on Gaza, leading to Hamas declaring a truce. The calm, however, appears to have ended.