The latest Israeli Air Force tactic to terrify Palestinians in Gaza with sonic booms has backfired, rattling houses inside Israel, causing discomfort to thousands of Israeli residents. In the most recent escalation in fighting, Palestinians have used rockets and a suicide bombing against civilians, while Israel has mounted raids to arrest suspected militants, shut down border crossings and fired missiles that killed militants and civilians. Israeli planes have also relentlessly set off sonic booms in Gaza that shake houses, blow out windows and - according to mental health specialists - cause insomnia, poor appetite and bed-wetting among children. 'Imagine that at 3am you are sleeping and then there is this explosion,' said Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. 'The feeling is that your entire house is collapsing on you. The kids wake up screaming. For one or two minutes you are crazy. Seeing your wife and kids in such a state of fear makes you crazy. This happens to 1.4 million people at the same time.' Israeli leaders pledged after the Gaza withdrawal that if rocket fire from Gaza kept Israeli residents of Sderot awake, Palestinians in Gaza would not be able to sleep either. The army describes the sonic booms as part of 'the operational methods we are using to fight terrorists'. And the evacuation of the 8,000 Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip in August enabled the introduction of boom warfare without collateral damage to Israelis. Or so the army thought. Last Thursday night and early Friday, Israeli police switchboards were inundated with calls from citizens north and south of Tel Aviv, which is 90km north of Gaza, reporting explosions. 'People said their houses were shaking and that they felt trembling, that maybe there was an earthquake,' said police spokesman Inspector Micky Rosenfeld. For several days, the cause of the explosions remained a mystery. Eventually, the military came clean. 'At the same time as the reported explosions in Israel there was air-force activity over Gaza,' an army spokeswoman said. The military is now expected to refine its use of the psychological-warfare weapon so that it affects only Palestinians.