Woman lightly wounded by Kassam

20 Kassams fall in Sderot, W. Negev during the day; IAF not striking back.

homemade kassam 298 (photo credit: AP)
homemade kassam 298
(photo credit: AP)
An Israeli woman sustained light wounds as fragments from a Kassam rocket late Monday night hit her in the shoulder. She was taken for treatment at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon. Another rocket fired at the same time struck a car in Sderot, causing it to catch fire. Kassam rockets continued to fall on the western Negev on Monday as Defense Minister Amir Peretz's ultimatum to the Hamas Palestinian leadership went unheeded. Close to 20 Kassams fell but in contrast to Sunday the IDF did not launch any air strikes. Peretz's office rejected the criticism of thos who said there should be a harsher response, claiming however that the minister's decision to reject an IDF recommendation to escalate the military offensive on the Gaza Strip was still in effect. "Peretz believes in restraint and patience," a defense official explained. "He wants to give the Palestinians a chance to rein in the terrorists on their own." A massive IDF strike on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, the official added, could produce a concentrated new wave of terror attacks against Israel. On Saturday, Peretz ordered the IDF to suspend all artillery fire against Kassam launch sites in the Gaza Strip until the completion of an investigation into an explosion on Friday that killed seven Palestinians on a Gaza beach. An IDF inquiry committee is scheduled to present its findings to Peretz on Tuesday night following which, sources said, the defense minister would decide whether the army would be allowed to resume artillery shelling of the northern Gaza Strip. IDF officers said Monday there was a strong possibility the explosion was caused by a Kassam fired at Israel that went astray or a Palestinian bomb that blew up prematurely on the beach. Meanwhile Monday, head of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tzahi Hanegbi said that Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh could be a target if he engaged in attacks against Israel. For now, Hanegbi said, Israel believed that Haniyeh, as a political leader of Hamas, was not involved in planning attacks against Israel. But if Haniyeh began to direct the Hamas's military wing's declared plans to attack Israel, he could become a target, Hanegbi warned. Haniyeh could meet the same fate as Hamas leaders Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, and his successor, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, who were killed in missile strikes in 2004, Hanegbi said. "Rantisi and Yassin are waiting for you, Haniyeh - if you take the same position of killing Jews and of striking indiscriminately with suicide attacks that will try once again to freeze Israeli society," Hanegbi said.