An IAF gunship fired missiles at Palestinians carrying rocket propelled grenade launchers as they approached IDF troops in Beit Hanun in northeast Gaza Sunday afternoon, the army said. Airmen said two terrorists were killed.
An estimated 48 Palestinians have been killed during Operation Autumn Clouds - more than 90 percent of them armed combatants - a senior officer in the Southern Command said.
Nevertheless, five Kassam rockets hit open areas inside the Green Line and one landed in the sea Sunday, the IDF said. No one was injured, but a building and a fence were damaged.
In an interview with Israel Radio, OC Home Front Command Maj.-Gen. Yitzhak Gershon said the concerns of Sderot residents over Kassam rocket attacks were legitimate, but perhaps exaggerated. He urged parents who were keeping their children out of school to end the boycott, even though not all classrooms had been reinforced against the rockets.
He also said the Red Dawn system provides a 20 second warning, giving children enough time to reach the schools' bomb shelters.
Speaking about the Gaza operation, the officer said: "We are acting very selectively [in choosing targets] in order to keep civilian losses to a minimum." This was being made more difficult by gunmen who were using ambulances for transport and hiding among women, he said.
The resistance in Beit Hanun had decreased significantly, the officer said, and infantrymen were now concentrating on arresting wanted men and seizing weapons in the town's center. At the same time, special forces units and IAF gunships continue to stalk Kassam rockets cells on their ways to and from attacks.
Seven Kassam rockets squads from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees have been eliminated.
The officer said the IDF's presence in the area was forcing the terrorists to rush their launches and to fire from sites farther from Israeli communities, decreasing their accuracy.
He said soldiers had found materials and instruction manuals proving that bombs and rockets were being produced on an industrial scale in the town's center. He would not say how long he expected the IDF to remain in the area.