Police officiers remove the remains of a Grad rocket 311 (R).
(photo credit:REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
An Egyptian-brokered cease fire that was supposed to have taken effect at 6 a.m. Sunday morning appeared to have returned calm to southern Israel and the Gaza Strip later in the morning. Islamic Jihad, which has taken responsibility for the majority of some 39 rockets fired at Israel from the Strip in the past 24 hours, said late Sunday morning that it would honor the agreement, Israel Radio reported, although it said it reserved the right to respond to any Israeli attacks.
Following the 6 a.m. deadline for an earlier cease fire attempt, four rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Two of the rockets exploded in open areas causing no damage and two were intercepted by the Iron Dome rocket defense system. The last rocket was fired at 6:40 a.m, the IDF Spokesman's Office said.
Palestinian rocket fired from Gaza explodes near Beersheba
Iron Dome battery moved south after Gaza-rocket attacks
Ami Moshe, 56, was killed by shrapnel from a Grad rocket in Ashdod that struck him while he was in his vehicle Saturday night. Four others were wounded over the weekend in the barrage of rocket and mortar fire.
Responding to the rocket fire, the
IAF struck six targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday night. In the
northern Gaza Strip it hit a terror tunnel and three rocket launch
sites, and in the southern Strip it attacked two centers of terrorist
activity. Nine Palestinian terrorists were killed in the strikes.
IDF will not hesitate to act decisively and forcefully against anyone
who uses terror against the citizens of Israel, until quiet returns to
area. Hamas is a terrorist organization and bears the responsibility," anot;250" />
200,000 school children will stay at home as classes in Ashdod,
Beersheba and Kiryat Malachi were canceled by local officials.
light of the rocket fire, schools, learning institutions
and day care centers located between seven and 40 kilometers from the Gaza Strip
will be closed Sunday, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor
Studies in locations between zero and seven
kilometers from the Strip will be held, but only in protected rooms. In
addition, the Home Front Command prohibited any public gatherings with
more than 500 people. The Home Front Command also asked people who live within 40 kilometers of the
Gaza Strip to stay near structures protected against rockets.
Saturday, 35 projectiles, including Grads and mortar shells, were fired
at southern communities, hitting built-up areas in Ashdod, Ashkelon and
regional councils across the region. A number of the rockets caused
extensive damages to buildings.
wave of rockets came after the IDF, working with the Shin Bet (Israel
Security Agency), identified and struck an Islamic Jihad rocket cell in
Gaza earlier on Saturday, killing five terrorists, including senior
Islamic Jihad commander Ahmed Sheikh Khalil, who was responsible for the
group’s considerable rocket production facilities.
said the cell was the same one that fired the unprovoked long-range Grad
that struck near Rehovot last week. That rocket was supposedly launched
to mark the anniversary of the 1995 assassination in Malta of Islamic
Jihad leader Fathi Shikaki, the first person to publish a booklet that
legitimized suicide in jihad.
“The cell was preparing to fire
another rocket into Israel,” an IDF spokesman said. Other reports added
that the cell was targeted at an Islamic Jihad training camp. The
terrorist organization vowed a major response to the air strike.
Jihad’s propaganda wing released a video on the Internet on Saturday
showing a multi-rocket launcher mounted on a truck and firing several
projectiles in succession.
The video is part of a boast by the Iranian-backed group that its rocket launching capabilities have improved over recent years.
group’s claim that the video was taken on Saturday in Gaza could not be
confirmed. The organization has been the recipient of large-scale
Iranian support, both military and financial.
the past, the organization’s leadership described itself as “one of the
many fruits on our leader [former Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah
Ruhollah] Khomeini’s tree.”
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman MK Shaul Mofaz said
Sunday that Israel should continue striking Islamic Jihad in the Gaza
Strip, saying it must restore its deterrence capabilities.
must bring back its deterrence capabilities that it lost," Mofaz told
Israel Radio. Doing so, he said, "is the only way to stop the rocket
Israel cannot allow terror organizations in the Gaza Strip
to take southern Israel's residents hostage whenever it feels like it,
Reuters contributed to this report.
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