​Hamas decided to end the calm in effect since mid-June 2008 on Friday (19 December). Dozens of Kassam rockets are again raining down on Israel on a daily basis, including longer-range and deadlier Grad Kaytusha rockets.

In response to this barrage, on 27 December Israel launched an attack on targets affiliated with the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip. The targets included command centers, training camps, various Hamas installations, rocket manufacturing facilities and storage warehouses. 

Defense Minister Ehud Barak laid out the three objectives of the offensive: dealing Hamas a forceful blow, fundamentally changing the situation in Gaza, and bringing to the cessation of rocket attacks against Israeli citizens.

Hamas responded with an escalation of rocket fire, with the longer-range Grad rockets for the first time hitting as far as Ashdod, Ofakim and Yavne.

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 Victims of Hamas rocket fire after Hamas ends calm - Dec 2008

Beber Vaknin

 Victims of Hamas rocket fire after Hamas ends calm - Dec 2008
Hani al-Mahdi
 Victims of Hamas rocket fire after Hamas ends calm - Dec 2008
Irit Sheetrit
 Victims of Hamas rocket fire after Hamas ends calm - Dec 2008
Lutfi Nasraladin