IDF Kills Islamic Jihad Operative in Gaza

Two mortar shells fired from Gaza explode in southern Israel on Wednesday morning; defense officials believe calm will hold in coming weeks.

Early on Wednesday morning, the Israel Air Force killed an Islamic Jihad operative in the Gaza Strip.

The operative was identified as Ismael al-Asmar, 34. According to the IDF, al-Asmar was involved in smuggling weapons to Gaza and in militant activity in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

IAF strike in Gaza August 24, 2011 (Reuters)

Al-Asmar was targeted while he was in a vehicle in the western part of Rafah. One additional person was wounded.

Later on Wednesday morning, two mortar shells fired from Gaza exploded in the Eshkol Regional Council, causing light damage but no injuries.

Also on Wednesday morning, IAF aircraft targeted two militants in seperate locations in the northern Gaza Strip who had launched projectiles at Israel shortly before, the IDF said in a statement.

Last week, eight Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks on the Israel-Egypt border north of Eilat.

That was followed by Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israel and IAF airstrikes against targets in the Gaza Strip.

A ceasefire declared by Hamas on Sunday has been adhered to almost completely. Israeli defense officials believe that incidents of rocket fire since the ceasefire were carried out by smaller factions in Gaza trying to challenge Hamas and display independence.

Defense officials estimate that the calm will hold and become stronger during the coming weeks.

The IDF did not strike targets in Gaza on Tuesday but IDF units stationed near Gaza remain on high alert.