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End of Hudna: Rockets and Mortar Shells at Gush Katif and Sderot

Arutz Sheva August 24, 2003

No one was hurt in any of these attacks, but two homes in Sderot and Katif were directly hit. In addition, Arabs fired more than once against IDF soldiers in Gaza, a bomb was discovered and neutralized in Shechem, and at least two cars were stoned in the Shomron.

For at least the fourth time in a year and a half, the IDF divided Gaza into three parts this morning. The army re-installed two checkpoints along a main route, thus preventing terrorists from traveling freely between Rafiach in the south – where large amounts of weapons and ammunition are smuggled in from Egypt – and central and northern Gaza. Salah A-Din St., which was opened only last month in the framework of Israel’s Road Map concessions, was once again closed. Near Netzarim, too, a recently-opened road was blocked off.

Military sources said this morning that large IDF forces may soon enter Gaza with the objective of destroying the smuggling tunnels in Rafiach. Other forces are on the alert to enter northern Gaza to put an end to the Kassam rockets. Israeli forces arrested 15 wanted terrorist suspects in Yesha last night.

The only current diplomatic contacts are those of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s advisor Osama El-Baz, who arrived in Israel today. He will meet first with Arafat and Abu Mazen, and then with Israeli Foreign Minister Shalom, in an effort to revive the hudna – although it has officially been declared dead by all the participating terrorist organizations. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Al-Aksa Brigades have said that they are now “free” to attack Israel.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon said that within the coming days we will know whether we are headed towards an escalation of violence or not.

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