GAZA CITY Ñ Palestinian gunners have rained mortars on nearby
communities in one of the heaviest shelling yet in the more than
Israeli security sources said Palestinian insurgents fired about 25
mortar shells on the Israeli Gush Katif bloc in the central Gaza Strip.
Nobody was injured in the attack on overnight Monday, but a house and school
Palestinian gunners also fired three mortar shells toward the Israeli
community of Morag on Monday. Nobody was injured.
The Israeli military did not immediately retaliate. So far, nearly 3,800
mortar shells have been fired toward Israeli communities in the Gaza Strip
since the war began in September 2000.
Palestinian gunners continued mortar fire on Tuesday. Two mortars
slammed into greenhouses in the Gush Katif bloc and security sources nobody
The increase in shelling attacks has been attributed to the
commemoration of the 39th anniversary of the ruling Fatah movement led by
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. Most of the recent shelling
attacks were said to have been carried out by the Fatah-dominated Al Aqsa
Martyrs Brigade, which claims a force of 5,000 combatants.
Al Aqsa has also prepared more than a dozen suicide attacks in Israel
from insurgency strongholds in the northern West Bank city of Nablus,
Israeli security sources said. Six Palestinians have been killed over the
last few days in clashes with Israeli troops in that city.
Israeli sources said Palestinian insurgency groups have expanded
production of mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank rockets and
short-range missiles. They said most of the material required for these
weapons are produced in PA-sponsored facilities in the Gaza Strip.
On Monday, Israeli troops destroyed one of two tunnels used by
Palestinian insurgents in the southern Gaza Strip. One of the tunnels, which
ran underneath a road used by Israeli military patrols, was filled with
explosives. The sources said Palestinian insurgents had planned to detonate
explosives in an attempt to destroy an Israeli main battle tank.