Saturday, May 12, saw Palestinian rocket volleys raining down from Gaza setting the Lachish and Shefela regions as well as Ashdod on red alert. Jihad still has 6,000 rockets, National Security Adviser Tzahi Hanegbi reported. A Jihad spokesman confirmed: “We are not short of weaponry and can carry on fighting for months.” (See photo of rocket squad) He spoke on Day Five of the IDF’s Shield and Arrow Operation for cutting down Islamic Jihad terror.
The Palestinian Hamas rocket arsenal is four times that of Jihad’s – around 24,000, Hanegbi noted, although this Palestinian group has stood aside from the current contest. He explained that at this point, Israel was not engaged in talks for a ceasefire but rather in liquidating Jihad’s remaining armed strength, after killing its top six commanders. “We will keep going so long as our enemy does,” he said. Israel is therefore not taking part in the ceasefire talks initiated by Cairo. “The Egyptians,” he said, could not persuade Jihad to stop shooting and we will certainly not give up on targeted assassinations.”
On Saturday, too, three workmen were seriously injured by rocket shrapnel during an attack at Moshav Shukda in the Sdot Negev region. Two were Gazans employed under Israeli work permits. After receiving first aid, all three were moved by armored ambulance to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.
Palestinian officials old the Lebanese Hizballah mouthpiece Al Mayadin that the ceasefire talks are beset by many difficulties and far from any breakthrough. The main complication, they say, emanates from Israel holding back on providing a written guarantee to halt targeted assassinations, without which the Jihad is not willing to talk. Therefore, “the odds are in favor of a major expansion of the cycle of warfare rather than a truce, although a small window still remains.” At all events, Jihad leaders are boasting that they have enough rockets to keep them coming for months.