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Nine Qassam rockets were fired at Israel yesterday - more than on the day before the Israel Defense Forces entered the northern Gaza Strip to end the launches.

Three of the rockets landed in Sderot: one near a residential building on Mikveh Israel Street, another near the town's cemetery, and a third somewhere unidentified.

Several residents suffered anxiety attacks. There was no damage to property.

At noon, a Qassam landed in an open area near Kibbutz Zikim, while another landed in Kibbutz Kfar Aza.

Three other launches were identified, with the rockets thought to have landed near the perimeter fence across from Kibbutz Niram and in an open area between Kibbutz Or Haner and Sderot.

"I can't promise that Qassam rocket fire will stop completely," GOC Southern Command Yoav Galant said yesterday at a press briefing.

"What began some time ago won't stop today. Terrorism will continue, but their operational decisions to fire or not to fire will be influenced by our way of operating. We hit whoever we want and find the terrorists' nests."

Galant said that IDF activity in the northern Gaza Strip is taking place in part in built-up areas, and soldiers leave their armored vehicles to perform sweeps. "There have been significant accomplishments in this operation and a great many terrorists have been killed. We exposed the openings of tunnels and hit the infrastructure for high-trajectory weapons," he said.

Raid, not conquest

Galant refused to say whether there is any information regarding the kidnapped soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit.

Regarding the nature of the Gaza operation, he said: "Our operational method is a raid, not conquest.

The IDF has no interest in remaining in the Strip and we are not seeking revenge, but rather a solution. We are in the first stage of an ongoing campaign."