Palestinian Arab terrorists recently fired nearly 100 mortar shells and rockets at Israeli Jews living in and around the Gaza Strip, miraculously causing no casualties.
Several homes and public buildings in the Katif Bloc settlement of Neve Dekalim in southern Gaza sustained damage. A horse was also killed in Neve Dekalim.
The Palestinians say the enormous barrage was launched in retaliation for the killing of three Arab youths by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers along the Gaza-Sinai border on April 9. IDF officials said the teenage boys were helping to smuggle illegal weapons into PA-controlled areas of Gaza.
That assessment was later corroborated by Palestinian Authority (PA) security officials after they questioned two more members of the group who managed to escape back into the town of Rafiah. The Palestinians have increased arms-smuggling operations of late in what Israeli defense officials believe is preparation for a full renewal of hostilities against the Jews following Israels planned retreat from the Gaza Strip.
Despite their involvement in terrorist activity, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chief Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) called the IDFs killing of the three boys a deliberate provocation. The Palestinians who were killed were unarmed children and did not constitute a threat to Israel, Abbas claimed.
Palestinian terror groups said they were no longer bound to a temporary cease-fire hammered out between them and Abbas and threatened to continue attacking local Jews.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz contacted PA Minister Nasser Yussuf on April 9 to demand the Abbas regime take decisive actions to halt the deteriorating situation, Army Radio reported.
When the first rocket was fired from northern Gaza at the Negev town of Sderot on April 8, prior to the Gaza border incident, Mofaz declared the situation intolerable and insisted Abbas prevent it from happening again.
The PLO chiefs apparent justification of such aggression by terming the prevention of further arms-smuggling a provocation indicated he would not be acquiescing to Mofazs request.