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Israeli Palestinian Confrontation Update June 18, 2008

News of the Israeli-Palestinian Confrontation
 June 10-17-10, 2008
This week, significant progress was made in the Egyptian-sponsored contacts for a lull in the fighting. It followed Israel 's decision to exhaust the dialogue with Egypt , while maintaining the option of a rapid military operation in the Gaza Strip. On June 17 senior Hamas figures announced that the lull would begin on Thursday, June 19, at 6 o'clock in the morning. Contacts regarding the lull are being held in the shadow of intensive rocket and mortar shell fire. At the same time, IDF counterterrorist activities continued, which this past week resulted in the deaths of at least ten terrorist operatives, six of them during a number of attacks on June 17.

Important Events 

Escalation in rocket and mortar shell fire
During the past week rocket fire targeting western Negev population centers escalated. There were 26 identified rocket hits, compared with 19 last week. In addition, there was a sharp rise in the amount of mortar shell fire, 83 shells launched this week at Israeli villages near the Gaza Strip and at IDF forces, compared with 39 last week.

Prominent incidents this past week included:

•  June 16 : A 90mm rocket shell fell in an open field south of Ashqelon near a school and kindergartens, wounding a city resident. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

•  June 12 : There was intensive rocket and mortar shell fire in response to an “work accident” in the house of a Hamas operative in Beit Lahia (See below). In the afternoon hours a heavy barrage of rockets and mortar shells was fired. Twenty-two mortar shells hits were identified (nine of them 120mm shells) and 12 rockets (of which two or three were Grad rockets) . A woman on Kibbutz Yad Mordechai was wounded. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attacks.

•  June 11 : Seven mortar shells were fired, three of which fell on the factory at Kibbutz Nir Oz (where a shell killed Amnon Rosenberg of neighboring Kibbutz Nirim on June 5). One factory worker was slightly injured. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

On June 12, under cover of the rocket and mortar shell fire, the terrorist organizations attempted to use a booby-trapped tractor to carry out an attack. The tractor aroused the suspicions of the IDF forces when it approached the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip near Netiv Haasara. When it stopped moving, a terrorist was seen running away; he was shot and killed.

The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center opened in 2001. It is part of the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC) , an NGO dedicated to the memory of the fallen of the Israeli Intelligence Community and it is located near Gelilot , north of Tel Aviv. It is headed by (Col. Ret.) Dr. Reuven Erlich .

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