Smoke trails are seen as a rocket is launched from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A projectile attack on southern Israel around noon Thursday broke the tense quiet of a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that was supposed to last until 3 p.m. to allow relief aid in the Gaza Strip.
Three mortars launched from Gaza landed in the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries were reported.
The five-hour halt was requested by the United Nations to allow residents of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip to gather supplies and repair some of the infrastructure damaged on the tenth day of fighting.
Before the humanitarian cease-fire went into effect, terrorists in the Palestinian territory launched rockets at the greater Tel Aviv area and communities in southern Israel.
Also, before dawn on Thursday, IDF forces foiled an attempt by Hamas terrorists
to infiltrate a kibbutz near the Gaza frontier through an underground tunnel, the army announced.
Explosions were heard in the skies over greater Tel Aviv on Thursday morning prior to the commencement of the cease-fire as Palestinian rocket launchers fired a barrage of projectiles at towns and suburbs in the Sharon region.
One rocket was intercepted over the greater Tel Aviv and Sharon district and one rocket fell in the area.
Rocket sirens were sounded in highly populated suburbs of Tel Aviv, including Kfar Sava, Ra'anana, Petah Tikva, Kiryat Ono, and Bnei Brak.
Four rockets fired from the Gaza Strip toward Beersheba exploded in open territory on Thursday morning.
Earlier in the morning the Iron Dome rocket defense system intercepted two rockets over Kiryat Gat and Kiryat Malachi. Three rockets also fell in open area in Kiryat Malachi, and the Eshkol and Ashkelon Coast regional councils on Thursday morning.
Israel on Wednesday accepted the UN proposal for a five-hour humanitarian pause in the fighting
to allow for relief aid into Gaza, less than two days after it accepted a more comprehensive cease-fire proposal that was answered by continuous rocket attacks from Gaza.
Hamas followed suit and also agreed to the humanitarian pause in the fighting around midnight on Wednesday.
UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry turned to Maj.-Gen. Yoav “Poly” Mordechai – Israel’s coordinator of government activities in the territories – with the request. A UN spokesman said if Israel agreed, Serry would call on “groups in Gaza to respect the pause.”
The development came as Israel continued to delay a much discussed ground incursion into the Gaza Strip so it could gauge the direction intensive efforts in Cairo and elsewhere were taking to resuscitate the cease-fire plan Hamas rejected on Tuesday.Herb Keinon contributed to this report.