Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip fired no fewer than 120 rockets and mortar shells at communities in southern Israel over the weekend, forcing the regions tens of thousands of residents to spend the Sabbath hiding in bomb shelters.
The attacks continued on Sunday morning, when an anti-tank missile was fired at an Israeli tank along the Gaza security fence, and three mortar shells landed in the fields of a nearby farming community, damaging local power lines.
Israeli forces, in turn, pounded terrorist installations across the Gaza Strip throughout the weekend. Among the reported casualties was one of the terrorists behind the 2006 abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Israeli officials threatened that the aerial and artillery responses would be upgraded to a full land forces incursion if the Hamas-led rocket and mortar attacks did not cease.
International mediators signaled that they were making progress on getting Hamas to back down, and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel is not interested in an escalation, and will stop firing if Hamas does the same.