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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 03, 2003

Palestinian Authority resumes efforts to prevent Qassam launches in Gaza

A move, it seems, to protect assets.
For the first time in many months, Israeli intelligence officials say they are seeing signs that the Palestinians are taking steps against terrorist groups. In the last two weeks, a Palestinian Qassam rocket cell was arrested in Gaza, and PA security groups have disrupted the activity of several other cells in Gaza.

Although there is large measure of skepticism in the defense establishment about this being a trend, they see a connection between these efforts and other developments, including the Cairo talks for a Palestinian cease-fire and the Israeli elections.

According to reports from Gaza, at least one cell was arrested by the Gaza Preventive Security Forces, headed by Rashid Abu Shbak. There have been attempts to disrupt Qassam rocket-fire from various parts of the Gaza Strip, and security force troops have been deployed in those areas where the rockets have been fired.

There have also been reports of a number of occasions when Palestinian security officials helped reveal hidden bombs.

Apparently, the explanation for the Palestinian activity is connected to the IDF's widening efforts against the production of the rockets and mortars. In recent months, the IDF has conducted dozens of raids against the tool and die workshops where the rockets and mortars are made deep inside Palestinian towns and cities, often causing much damage to the environs around those workshops.