There has been a decrease in Palestinian mortar and qassam shell attacks, as the Israeli army decided to lift the internal closure of the Gaza Strip. The internal closure had split the Strip into three areas isolated from each other and had restricted the movement of Palestinian civilians for the past week, Palestinian sources reported.

Palestinian resistance fighters fired four mortar shells at an Israeli military base outside the settlement of Neveh Dikalim in the early hours of Tuesday morning, the source said. No injuries were reported.

Last week two roadblocks were placed  near Al-Mughraqa area, close to the Netzarim settlement in the middle of the Gaza Strip and another one was erected at Abu Holy, near the Gush Katif settlement bloc towards the south of the Strip.

The roadblocks were set up as part of the Israeli army’s preparation to invade the Gaza Strip following home-made mortar and Qassam shelling at Israeli settlements and western Negev towns.

A 14-year-old Palestinian boy, Rateb al-Masri, was killed on Monday by Israeli soldiers, who opened fire at a convoy of Palestinian cars that had been waiting at the closed Abu Holy checkpoint for some hours and then decided to force their way through. According to Palestinian sources, Masri was in one of the detained cars. He was shot in the chest and died later at the hospital.

The Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, said  it is still committed to the cease-fire yet stressed its right to respond to perceived truce violations by Israel.

“Hamas is still interested and committed to the cease-fire and calm,” Sheikh Hassan Yousef of Hamas told IMEMC over the phone, “there are no less than 7000 violations of the cease-fire.  The Qassam and mortar shells are part of our response to these truce violations by Israel.”