Representatives of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard have set up a presence in the Gaza Strip. These representatives are expert missile builders who moved to the coastal territory to help Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants develop long-range missiles. Israel security and diplomatic sources have confirmed the Iranian presence, but would not release any more information. The report emerged shortly after a Grad rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed south of Ashkelon on Tuesday, for the first time since the end of Operation Pillar of Defense last November.
Under the Egyptian-mediated cease-fire that ended the war, Israel agreed to refrain from any military operations in the Gaza Strip and from assassination attempts on senior military leaders there. Hamas agreed to refrain from launching rockets at Israel or firing along the border. The agreement essentially meant an Israeli retreat from its 300 meter-wide buffer zone on the Hamas side of the border, which it had imposed to operate against explosive devices and against Palestinians approaching the fence with Israel.