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Thursday, September 8, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza rose significantly in August

JERUSALEM — Israel has reported a sharp increase in Palestinian attacks fueled by an enhanced Hamas network.


The Israel Security Agency said Palestinian attacks more than tripled in August amid missile strikes from the Gaza Strip. ISA reported 178 attacks, most of them from the Gaza Strip, compared to 53 during the previous month.

"August 2011 has seen a significant increase in the number of attacks," ISA said.

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On Sept. 7, Israeli authorities reported foiling a suicide strike by Hamas in Jerusalem in August. Officials said ISA intercepted an explosive belt in Jerusalem 24 hours before the planned attack.

In its monthly survey, ISA, responsible for domestic security and intelligence, said 134 of the attacks in August consisted of missile, mortar and rocket strikes from the Gaza Strip, Middle East Newsline reported. The bloodiest operation took place on Aug. 18 when eight Israelis were killed in a Palestinian ambush from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

"Throughout August 2011, 145 rockets and 46 mortar shell were launched towards Israel in 134 attacks, compared to 20 rockets and two mortar shells in July 2011 in 18 attacks," ISA said on Sept. 7.

The survey reported an increase in attacks in the West Bank. ISA said Palestinians struck 30 times in August compared to 25 attacks during the previous month.

"On the other hand, Jerusalem has seen a slight drop in number of attacks — six attacks as opposed to eight in July," the survey said.

In all, nine Israelis were reported killed and 55 injured, most of them in the attack from Sinai on Israeli motorists near the southern city of Eilat. In another attack, seven people were injured when a Palestinian commandeered a taxi and plowed into Israeli youngsters in Tel Aviv on Aug. 29.

Hamas was deemed the major source of Palestinian attacks on Israel. ISA said Hamas expanded significantly over the last year and established command posts in China and Turkey.

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