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(photo credit: AP [file])
Nine Kassam rockets were fired at the western Negev over the weekend causing light damages to buildings in Gaza-belt communities. No one was wounded in any of the attacks. One of the Kassams landed in Palestinian territory.
The Kassams, IDF sources said, were fired without military intervention despite Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's decision last week to allow the Southern Command to open fire at rocket cells. Alongside the new operational orders, Olmert decided however to retain the Israeli policy of restraint in face of continued Palestinian violations of the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
IDF sources explained that despite the orders by Olmert, the actual targeting of Kassam cells was very difficult and was not automatic. "Just because we have the orders does not mean that we are able to thwart the attacks," explained an officer in the Southern Command.
The officer said that IDF soldiers rarely succeeded in thwarting Kassam attacks before the rockets were fired and mostly had the opportunity to target the terrorists after the launching. "This is a very difficult process that requires advanced technological means and perfect coordination between IDF branches," he said.
In the past, before the "policy of restraint", the IDF was allowed to fire artillery shells at Kassam launch sites in the northern Gaza Strip, from where the targets are fired at Sderot. The IDF is currently not allowed to fire artillery shells and therefore Palestinian terrorists have total freedom of movement inside Palestinian villages in the area.
One of the rockets fired Friday, landed near Sderot, while another five hit the western Negev. No one was wounded and no damage was reported. Meanwhile Saturday, an Israeli car was lightly damaged after it was hit by a Molotov cocktail near Kalikilya. No one was injured in the attack.