Mortars Fall on Israelis in Gaza Amid High Security for Yom Kippur

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:15 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - A woman was seriously injured when Palestinians fired at least two mortar shells at the southern Gaza Strip settlement of Neve Dekalim on Friday.

Israeli security forces throughout the country were on heightened alert ahead of the Yom Kippur fast day, military sources said.

Overnight, security sources revealed that they had thwarted a suicide bombing in the northern Israeli city of Afula earlier in the week, where a 15-year-old Palestinian boy was to have carried out the attack.

The 15-year-old was given a cellular telephone and 1,000 shekels (about $225) for agreeing to carry out the attack and blow himself up, the sources said. The seven-kilogram (15-pound) bomb filled with nails and shrapnel was smuggled into Israel, hidden in a flour sack.

The attack was planned jointly by in Jenin by a cell of Islamic Jihad and Tanzim, part of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction. The bomber and three other operatives were arrested, sources said.

Despite the high state of alert, three soldiers were killed in an infiltration of an army post at another Gush Katif community in the Gaza Strip on Thursday and a female suicide bomber managed to penetrate into Jerusalem, blow herself up and kill two border policemen on Wednesday.

There are some 40 warnings of possible pending terror attacks, Israel Radio reported on Friday.

Meanwhile, Israelis prepared for the 25-hour fast, of Yom Kippur, which begins at sundown on Friday and ends on Saturday evening.

The most solemn day on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur - the day's Hebrew name - is the Biblical Day of Atonement.

Many Israelis will spend the day praying and repenting in synagogues throughout the country, where security will be tight.

All public places in the country will be closed from midday Friday until Saturday evening. Public transportation and radio and television broadcasts will also shut down on Friday for the duration of the fast. Most Israelis will refrain from driving and many will fast as they engage in introspection and prayer.