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Steep increase in rocket fire despite ‘truce’

Dinsdag, December 16, 2008

Ynet News, December 16, 2008.

Security establishment releases data on accumulating artillery fired towards
Israel, showing sharp increase of over 1,000 rockets, mortars fired in 2008 in
comparison with previous year.

The ceasefire agreement with the armed Palestinian groups in Gaza, set to
expire before the end of the week, has not lived up to its name, statistical
findings have concluded. According to the security establishment’s data, 2008
saw an increase of over a thousand rockets and mortars from the previous
year.

In 2007 over 1,200 rockets and 600 mortar shells were fired towards the
western Negev. As 2008 comes to a close, 2,900 rockets have so far been
fired at Israel.

Despite a relative lull during July and August, during which an average of five
rockets and six mortar shells were launched each month, November saw a
steep escalation in violence, with 148 rockets and an additional 85 mortar
shells documented.

In 2004, before the Gaza pullout, less than a thousand rockets and mortar
shells were launched at Israel from the Strip.

A senior military official responded to the figures and told Ynet that “there is no
doubt that what is taking place in the Gaza Strip is intolerable. There are ways
to take care of this, and we are awaiting the green light from upstairs.”

He added, “The data from November proves that there is no lull, and even if
there has been a decrease in launches over the past few days we cannot
accept the terror organizations firing without cease whenever they want to.”

The official remarked that the numbers bespoke a grim reality of life in the
south since the Gaza pullout and the evacuation of Gush Katif. “There is no
political expression here, but merely a simple analysis of numbers,” he said.

“Either there is total peace – or a wide scale military operation,” the official
added. The Southern Command has been preparing for a number of scenarios in
Gaza, ranging from small-scale operations to large ones including reserve
forces.

“There is no significance to December 19,” said an officer familiar with the
preparations. “The time of the lull’s termination looks like it has already come in
November.”

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