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IDF strikes in Gaza after 3 rockets fired at Beersheba despite cease-fire
By BEN HARTMAN,HERB KEINON,JPOST.COM STAFF
08/19/2014
Rocket attacks that come more than 6 hours before midnight truce deadline; Netanyahu, Ya'alon order IDF to respond; Israel calls back delegation from Cairo amid fire.
 
Three rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed in open areas near Beersheba on Tuesday, violating a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas and prompting an IDF response.

Several more rockets were launched at the country's South with two being intercepted by the Iron Dome over Netivot. Rocket alert sirens were also heard in Sdot Negev and the Ashkelon areas.  No injuries or damage were reported in the attacks.

The attacks came despite a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that was extended on Monday night and was not scheduled to expire until midnight. 

Diplomatic sources said that in light of the rockets fired on the South and the violation of the cease-fire, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon instructed the IDF to resume its attacks on terror targets inside the Gaza Strip.

The IDF said that it responded to the rockets with strikes on Gaza and was prepared for the possibility of renewed hostilities.

According to Palestinian sources, Israeli air raids hit an agricultural field in Beit Lahiya, areas in eastern Rafah and the town of Deir al-Balah.

Israel called back its delegation to Cairo in light of the violation of the cease-fire.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said in response to the renewed fire that "when you negotiate with terrorists, you get more terror." He slammed Hamas for launching rocket attacks during negotiations and called for a harsh response that will put an end to the deteriorating situation: "Sooner or later, Israel will have to defeat Hamas. There is no way around it."

Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel said he backed the prime minister and the political leadership in "dealing a heavy blow to [Hamas] terrorists" and reinstating the sense of security to Israel.

Earlier in Cairo the chief Palestinian delegate to the indirect negotiations with Israel cautioned that violence could erupt anew if the talks failed.

"We hope that every minute of the coming 24 hours will be used to reach an agreement, and if not (successful), the circle of violence will continue," head of the Palestinian delegation to the talks Azzam al-Ahmad said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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