Special report: Palestine-Israel Conflicts ¡¡
JERUSALEM, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Rocket attacks from Gaza Strip against southern Israel have notably decreased as the Israeli offensive in the Hamas-ruled enclave enters the 17th day on Monday.
The Palestinian group's ability to launch rockets against Israel has sustained a dramatic drop, and the number of such attacks has decreased by 50 percent in comparison with the first day of the so-called Operation Cast Lead, local press reports quoted defensive officials as saying on Sunday.
A total of 22 rockets fired from Gaza landed in Israel on Sunday, and the number on Saturday was also around 20, less than half of the daily number during the opening days of the operation, according to the reports.
Four Israelis were killed in rocket attacks in the first week, and no other deaths were reported in such attacks so far.
While noting that Hamas was now suffering from ammunition shortages and has been hard hit by the deaths of senior militants, Israel's military intelligence chief Major General Amos Yadlin told the cabinet on Sunday that the Islamist organization is not expected to raise a white flag.
On Monday, Gazan militants continued to pummel southern Israel with rockets, a situation the Jewish state vowed to end by the operation, which has killed over 800 and injured over 3,000 in the coastal strip.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that the Israeli army was nearing the goals of the operation, while "further patience, determination and efforts" were required "so that our citizens can feel safety and stability."
The Israeli army on Sunday began deploying reservist troops to Gaza Strip, for the first time in the 17-day-old operation. The Jewish state has stressed that it would expand the current offensive, possibly by sending tens of thousands of reservists into Gaza, to achieve the goal of restoring quiet and security to the southern land.