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Tense calm prevails amid informal cease-fire
By JPOST.COM STAFF
13/03/2012
Current round of Gaza violence appears to have concluded after more than 200 rockets fired from territory into Israel.
 
Tense calm prevailed over southern Israel on Tuesday as an informal ceasefire between terrorist groups in Gaza and Israel appeared to be holding after five days of hostilities.

Palestinian terrorists fired five mortar shells and two rockets at southern Israel on Tuesday, the last of which came just before noon.

More than 200 rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel during hostilities which began on Friday when the IDF killed two Islamic Jihad terrorists that Israel charged were plotting a cross-border terror attack from Sinai.

The Israel Air Force responded to rocket attacks throughout the period of escalation, killing 26 Palestinians in air strikes, 22 of whom were armed terrorists.

In what appeared to be the final flurries in the current round of violence, five mortar shells were fired from Gaza into the Eshkol Regional Council area on Tuesday, some of which landed in a kibbutz. Two Kassam rockets were fired earlier Tuesday: one into the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council and another into the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries or damage were reported in the attacks.

Palestinian media reported on Tuesday afternoon that the IDF shot and injured three Palestinians that approached the Gaza security fence during a funeral procession for two terrorists that were killed in an IAF strike a day earlier. The funeral was for Islamic Jihad members Bassam al-Ejla and Mohammed Daher.

The IDF said that some fifty Palestinians came close to the security fence, and that they fired in order to distance them.

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An Egyptian security official told Reuters on Tuesday that both sides had "agreed to end the current operations," with Israel giving an unusual undertaking to "stop assassinations," and an overall agreement "to begin a comprehensive and mutual calm."

"There is an understanding," Homeland Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i told Army Radio Tuesday morning. "At the moment the direction is toward calm and it appears, unless there are last minute developments, that this round is now behind us."

Also Tuesday morning, an Islamic Jihad spokesman said the group would respect the quiet as long as Israel stopped assassinations of terrorist leaders, saying it would respond if more assassinations take place.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report
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