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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Defense Minister Amir Peretz on Thursday ordered the IDF to step up the targeted killings of Palestinians involved in Kassam rocket attacks on Israel, just hours after three rockets struck the western Negev.
One woman was treated for shock after one rocket landed at the entrance to Kibbutz Gevim. Another landed near a factory in Sderot. No one was wounded and no damage was reported. Workers at the hi-tech factory said that the rocket landed as people began arriving at work and that the explosion shook the building. In the afternoon a third rocket landed in an open field near kibbutz Yad Morechai.
The IDF responded to the attacks by pounding Kassam launch sites in the northern Gaza Strip with artillery shells and released a statement declaring that Israel held the Palestinian Authority responsible for the attacks. Early Thursday morning, IAF aircraft bombed a road leading to the northern Gaza Strip in an effort to prevent terrorists from reaching the area to fire Kassam rockets.
"The PA is fully responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip," the IDF said. "It is not doing anything to prevent the terror attacks against Israeli citizens and therefore the military is forced to step up its offensive actions."
During a security consultation on Thursday, security officials told Peretz that Hamas had stepped up its involvement in Kassam rocket attacks against Israel. Peretz ordered the defense establishment to step up its offensive operations against the Kassam cells and to target "anyone" behind the attacks including Hamas officials. "No terrorist from any of the organizations will be immune if they engage in anti-Israel terror activity," Peretz said during the meeting.
The defense minister also decided to increase the number of work permits granted to the Palestinians by 5,500, putting the number of Palestinians allowed into Israel for work at 16,500, the number of permits granted before a closure was imposed on the territories in March.