Qassam Rockets, Mortars Fired From Gaza Strike Western Negev

Israel Radio: IDF troops, 15 tanks backed by helicopters push mile across border in 'defensive activity.'

Three mortar shells fired from the northern Gaza Strip landed in open areas in the western Negev on Monday, close to the Erez Crossing between Israel and Gaza.

A short time later, Qassam rocket fired from southern Gaza landed in the Negev.

There were no reports of casualties in any of the attacks, although a hothouse belonging to one of the communities in the area was lightly damaged.

Earlier in the day, the Israel Defense Forces sent ground troops and more than 15 tanks backed by helicopters into the Gaza Strip, pushing about a kilometer into Palestinian territory. Military sources called the move "defensive activity to negate threats," Israel Radio reported.

The operation focused on an area inside the Gaza border near the Sufa crossing in the southeastern Strip.

The troops took over houses in the area, searched them, and arrested a number of suspects, it said, adding that military bulldozers excavated areas used by gunmen as hiding spots.

The radio noted that for the first time after weeks of daily rocket attacks, not a single Qassam rocket was fired into Israel overnight Sunday and during morning hours Monday.