Military sources revealed Saturday that the remnants of a Kassam rocket were located â€œvery closeâ€ to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's farmhouse in the western Negev
The sources said the rocket had apparently been fired several weeks ago but it was only discovered Saturday morning during a routine sweep of the grounds of his sheep ranch.
Being able to strike Sharon's Sycamore Ranch had been the elusive Holy Grail of Palestinian rocket makers. Sharon's home is located some 13 kilometers from Beit Hanoun
, the town in the northern Gaza Strip
which has served as a launching site of the Kassams.
It has always been considered just beyond the effective range of the homemade Kassam rockets.
The rocket was likely launched following last month's heavy barrage which resulted in a massive IDF retaliation, including war planes and artillery. It resulted in a pledge by Hamas and others to refrain from firing more rockets.
Senior IDF officials have said they believe Israel
has been able to change the rules of the game and create deterrence. But the fact that Kassam rockets could actually reach Sharon and put the prime minister at risk poses a new strategic threat for the country.