Hamas: We have not fired a Kassam rocket in 48 hours

Claims 4 rockets fired Thurs. launched by other groups; comes despite Mashaal's warning that attacks won't stop; attack on IDF foiled.

kassam disposal 298 88 (photo credit: AP)
kassam disposal 298 88
(photo credit: AP)
Hamas's military wing, which has been responsible for most of the recent Kassam rocket fire, said Thursday that it had not launched a rocket in 48 hours. Four rockets were fired Thursday into the western Negev, two of which landed in open fields near the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, but Channel 10 quoted Hamas officials as saying that those rockets were launched by other groups such as the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC). The claim came despite an earlier warning by Damascus-based Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal that the rocket fire would continue until Israel stopped its attacks in Gaza. "What the Palestinian people are doing comes in the context of self-defense for facing these aggressions," Mashaal told reporters in Damascus. Mashaal was speaking after his meeting with Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Shara, during which the two discussed the recent developments in the Palestinian arena and ways of ending the conflict between Hamas and Fatah. Defense officials had noted the continued sharp drop in rocket fire. In the first days of the recent conflict 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. Meanwhile, the IDF continued its offensive against terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip as additional infantry units were deployed along the border in preparation for a possible escalation. In response to the four Kassams, the IAF bombed a building used to launch the rockets. Palestinians said two Islamic Jihad operatives were wounded in the strike. In recent days, the IDF has beefed up its presence along the Gaza Strip with additional armored and infantry units, particularly in the northern and southern parts of the border. Military sources said that while a massive ground operation was not planned, the additional units could be used to take up positions in areas used to launch rockets in addition to searching for tunnels Israel fears terror groups might be digging under its border. Meanwhile Thursday, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) revealed that it had arrested two Hamas operatives from Hebron who had planted a number of roadside bombs along the Kiryat Arba-Kiryat Gat Highway aimed at IDF patrols. The two operatives were arrested in April by the IDF after troops discovered two bombs planted on the highway, one of which was set to be detonated by a cellular phone.