A surge in Gaza fighting saw terrorist attacks against Israelis more than tripled in May, the deadliest month in almost two years, the Shin Bet security service has said.
The increase to 449 incidents in May over April’s 126 incidents owes to the launching of hundreds of rockets last month from Gaza into Israel. The rockets killed four people and injured eight out of the 10 wounded in terrorist attacks in May. The remaining two were stabbed in Jerusalem, the Shin Bet said in its monthly report for May published earlier this week.
The deadly two-day flare-up in early May saw almost 700 rockets fired into Israel and hundreds of retaliatory airstrikes.
It was ended by a reported agreement in which Israel agreed to extend an allowable fishing zone off the coast of Gaza and approved Qatari funds of millions of dollars into the Palestinian enclave, aimed at helping ease the dire humanitarian situation there, among other moves.
Israel has refused to officially acknowledge the ceasefire deal, despite moves being made to ease conditions in the Strip.
Hamas, the de facto ruler in the Strip, and the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad terror group had both confirmed the internationally brokered deal.
Fifty-eight year-old father of four Moshe Agadi was the first fatality, killed by shrapnel wounds he sustained when the rocket hit his home in Ashkelon.
In a barrage aimed at the same southern city later in the day, a rocket directly hit a factory, killing Zaid al-Hamamdeh, a 47-year-old father of seven, and injuring two others.
A short while later, a third man, Moshe Feder, 60, was fatally wounded when an anti-tank guided missile slammed into his car as he was driving along the Route 34 highway near the community of Kibbutz Erez, just north of the Gaza border. He sustained a serious shrapnel wound to the leg, causing significant blood loss. Feder was pronounced dead at Barzilai Medical Center after CPR efforts failed. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
A fourth man was killed later that evening after being struck by rocket shrapnel while running for cover in the southern city of Ashdod, medics said. Pinchas Menachem Prezuazman, 21, was survived by his wife and son. He was laid to rest in Jerusalem.
In the Jerusalem stabbing attack, a 19-year-old Palestinian stabbed one Israeli near Damascus Gate and another near Jaffa Gate on the other side of the walled Old City before being shot dead.
One of the Israelis, a man in his 40s, was in a critical condition with knife wounds to the neck and the other, 16-year-old Yisrael Meir Nachumberg, was stabbed in his back and in a moderate condition.
Terrorist attacks in the West Bank, meanwhile, decreased by 43 percent, from 88 in April to 50 last month.
Last week, the Shin Bet revealed it had foiled a plan by Hamas to set off an explosive charge inside Israel on April 9, during the general elections. A 23-year-old man Yihia abu Dhia, whom the Shin Bet said is a Hamas operative, was arrested on March 31 in the West Bank village of A-Zaim in connection with the alleged plot. He had agreed to carry out a suicide bombing for handlers in Gaza, the Shin Bet said
The intended target was a traffic artery in Ma’ale Adumim, a settlement near Jerusalem.