Jerusalem, Aug. 24 – Terrorists in Gaza fired two mortars at civilians in the southwest region of Israel on Wednesday, with no injuries reported. Later in the day, another rocket intended for Israel hit the Egyptian town of Rafah, lightly wounding a woman.
Also on Wednesday, the death toll from rocket attacks last week climbed to 10 after a 62-year-old woman in Beersheba died from her injuries after falling while running to a bomb shelter Saturday.
Additionally, the Israel Air Force targeted and killed a terrorist who had reportedly assisted in arms smuggling to Gaza and terrorist activity in the Sinai Peninsula, near the area where eight Israelis were killed in a wave of coordinated attacks in a single day last week.
The terrorist, 34-year-old Ismael al-Asmar, was a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, one of several terrorist organizations in Hamas-controlled Gaza that receives training, arms and financing from Iran.
Also on Wednesday, an Egyptian newspaper released findings that at least three Egyptians - members of an extremist Islamic group - were involved in the deadly attacks on Aug. 18, which took place near the Israel-Egypt border just north of the Israeli resort town of Eilat. The inquiry was conducted by the Egyptian government. The government had initially denied that any of its citizens participated in the killings. A total of five other Egyptians – police officers and soldiers – died in the ensuing fighting.
According to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, 12 terrorists from four different groups carried out the Aug. 18 series of attacks on cars and buses. Some of them were attired in brown uniforms similar to those used by the Egyptian Army, and some waved white handkerchiefs at passing vehicles in an attempt to deceive passing drivers. The terrorists also tried unsuccessfully to shoot down an Israel Defense Forces helicopter.
The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a terrorist faction in Gaza, claimed responsibility for the day of terror. The PRC has close operational ties to Hamas and was formed by Fatah dissidents during the second intifada.
Of the eight killed in the Aug. 18 attacks, six were civilians. Since then, Palestinian terrorists have fired more than 100 Grad and Qassam rockets and shells at Israel, killing another Israeli and injuring almost 70 others. Some of the rockets hit a school and a synagogue in Ashdod, a port city of 250,000 people. The southern capital Beersheba and Ashkelon were also targeted, with the terrorists using longer-range Grad rockets.
In light of the latest events, Iran-backed Hamas said on Wednesday it was reconsidering the ceasefire it declared Sunday, and Israel’s Security Cabinet was due to meet Wednesday to discuss the situation.