(Communicated by Israeli security sources)

The past week has brought about an escalation in the use of rocket attacks against Israel, as well as the introduction of a new type of weaponry in the Gaza Strip: on Tuesday two Israeli Beduins were killed by a previously launched projectile rocket shell which exploded when they came in contact with it; also on Tuesday a Katyusha rocket was launched against Israel from the Gaza Strip for the first time; on Thursday a Qassam rocket hit the Israeli community of Karmia. Life for Israeli citizens living around the Gaza Strip is unbearable, and the constant barrage of rockets on innocent civilians can not and will not be tolerated by the State of Israel.

Following these attacks, and projectile rocket attacks in general, the IDF has increased its activity against projectile rocket launching cells in the Gaza Strip.

Following the IDF pullout from the Gaza Strip, Palestinian security forces moved into the evacuated territories, including evacuated areas in the northern Gaza Strip, and set up numerous posts in these areas. Nonetheless, projectile rocket launchings from these areas, at times right by security forces’ posts, has continued unabated. Yesterday, March 30th 2006, the IDF warned Palestinian security forces located both in and near projectile rocket launching grounds to stay clear of the launching sites. The IDF will respond directly and specifically to any launches from the northern Gaza Strip. To do this the IDF will implement a wide array of response methods, including response from the air, land and sea. Nevertheless, the IDF will continue to do everything within its power in order to avoid harming innocent civilians.

The IDF has notified the head of Palestinian National Security of this decision, and has warned him to remove his forces from the areas in question. The IDF will not be responsible for Palestinian security personnel who are harmed as a result of an IDF response to Palestinian rocket-fire in these areas. It is important to note that, although this warning is also obviously directed towards Palestinian civilians, civilians are not present in these areas, which are mainly used by Palestinian security forces and terror cells.