On 28 January 2009 Israeli aircraft conducted several bombings targeting smuggling tunnels underneath the Gaza Strip-Egypt border near the border town of Rafah. The air strikes were in response to an incident on 27 January in which an Israeli soldier was killed and several others were injured by a roadside bomb near the Kissufim border crossing on the Gaza Strip-Israel border. Also on 28 January, a Qassam rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel, landing in an open area of the Negev.
The incidents and other violations to Israel and Hamas’ unilateral ceasefires are straining the truce and are increasing the potential for large-scale clashes to resume. International efforts to implement a longer-term ceasefire between Hamas and Israel continue, and the U.S. special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, was due to meet with Israeli leaders in Israel sometime on 28 January; Mitchell is also expected to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.