Defense officials hail decline in Kassam attacks

3 rockets fall; more troops sent to border

The IDF continued its offensive against the terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, as additional infantry units were deployed along the border in preparation for a possible escalation. Three Kassam rockets were fired into the western Negev on Thursday; two of them struck fields in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. In response, the IAF bombed a building used to launch the rockets. Palestinians said two Islamic Jihad gunmen were wounded in the strike. In recent days, the IDF has deployed additional armored and infantry units outside the Gaza Strip, particularly in the northern and southern sectors. Military sources said that while a massive ground operation was not planned, the additional units could be sent to areas inside the Strip used to launch rockets or to search for tunnels being dug by terrorists under the border. Defense officials pointed to the continued sharp drop in rocket fire. When the upsurge in Gazan attacks began two weeks ago, Hamas was firing between 30 and 40 rockets a day. Over the past week, that number had dwindled to fewer than 10. Hamas's military wing, which has been responsible for most of the recent Kassam fire, said Thursday that it had not launched a rocket in 48 hours. Also Thursday, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) revealed that it had arrested two Hamas men from Hebron who had planted a number of bombs along the Kiryat Arba-Kiryat Gat Highway aimed at IDF patrols. The two gunmen were arrested by the IDF in April after two bombs were found on the highway, one of which was set to be detonated by a cellular phone.