The Israeli army decided to step up its ground assaults by special forces in the northern party of the Gaza Strip; the decision comes only a day after the under-cover units of the Israeli army killed four Palestinians in northern Gaza.

Army commanders reported that the decision comes in the wake of the increasing number of homemade shells fired by resistance fighters at Israeli settlements adjacent to the Gaza Strip, especially the Israeli Negev town of Sderot.

Senior Israeli military officials reported that the operations of the special forces against “shell launchers” has proven to be “fairly effective”, and that the international committee “has been understanding of these operations”.  

Troops also responded with heavy artillery and shelled areas adjacent to the borders, including residential neighborhoods.

On Wednesday morning, two homemade shells were fired at Sderot heavily damaging a building which is a few dozen meters away from the house of Israel’s Defense Minister, Amir Peretz. A third shell landed in an open field near Sderot.

According to Israeli sources, the Islamic Jihad militant group claimed responsibility for firing the homemade shells. .

Eli Moyal, the mayor of Sderot, harshly slammed what he called “the government’s response” thus far to the shells.

Four Palestinians were killed on Tuesday after the Israeli special forces operated in the Gaza Strip. Army officials reported that under-cover troops  have been operating in northern Gaza for about two months, but it finally decided to publicize it Tuesday.

Peretz vowed the the Israeli army will continue to operate against what he called Qassam launchers. During a cabinet session, Peretz said that the operations will continue by air, sea and land. Medics and civilians were hurt in the Israeli assault.

Army officials believe that these operations do not place the soldiers under unreasonable risk since they are”skilled and operate with a broad backup network”.