Hamas starts new Gaza fight

Fighting has intensified over the past week around the Gaza Strip in what Israeli defence sources believe is an attempt by Palestinian organisations to test the boundaries and return Gaza to the agenda despite the tide of revolution sweeping the Arabcountries.

The current round of hostilities began last Wednesday night when three Grad rockets hit the city of Be'er Sheva.

This is the first time the "capital of the Negev" has been targeted since the end of Operation Cast Lead over two years ago. The rockets caused no casualties but a few people were shell-shocked and a number of houses and cars were damaged.

In retaliation, the Israeli Air Force attacked a number of Hamas targets. At least one Palestinian was killed and there were no casualties on the Israeli side. On Tuesday, the Palestinians shot at an IDF patrol near the Gaza border but no Israeli soldiers were hurt.

Security sources believe that the Palestinians are "testing the boundaries" now that Israel is about to deploy the Iron Dome defence system against short-range missiles - as well as attempting to put Gaza back on the international agenda.

    Last updated: 2:20pm, March 3 2011