With all the excitement in Egypt, and the wave of supposedly pro-democracy revolutions sweeping the region, observers abroad could be forgiven for forgetting that Gaza remains a regional hotspot with the potential to spark a dangerous conflagration.
On Wednesday, Palestinian terrorists operating out of Gaza set off a roadside bomb as an Israeli army patrol passed along the Gaza security fence. As the patrol was recovering from the blast, a mortar shell was fired at the Israelis.
At around the same time, Gaza-based terrorist forces fired five mortar shells at civilian communities in southern Israel.
The Israeli army identified a group of terrorists operating in Gaza and directed tank fire at them. Palestinian sources said that seven terrorists were wounded in the counter strike.
The situation escalated further in the evening when Palestinian forces fired a Grad missile into the southern Israel city of Beersheva. The missile caused extensive damage, but, miraculously, no injuries as local residents had properly responded to air raid sirens by entering their bomb shelters.
A second Grad missile landed just outside the nearby town of Netivot, causing no injuries or damage.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman submitted a formal complaint to the UN Security Council, though that is not expected to do any good, and issued a statement insisting that “Israel will not remain indifferent to these acts.”
The Beersheva missile attack, which was viewed as a major provocation and escalation of the situation in and around Gaza, was met by an immediate Israeli aerial assault on terrorist installations throughout Gaza.