No ceasefire as IDF pounds Gaza all evening

The reported cease-fire between Israel and Hamas did not go into effect Monday night as a new barrage of rockets hit the south.

By
March 26, 2019 00:15
3 minute read.

Footage of the IDF striking a Hamas target in Gaza (credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

Footage of the IDF striking a Hamas target in Gaza (credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

 
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The Hamas Al-Aqsa Channel reported that the Egyptians have succeeded in reaching a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.

The channel quoted an "informed source" as confirming that the cease-fire had been reached,  but did not provide further details.

The Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Mayadeen Channel also reported that a cease-fire has been reached and would go into effect at 10.00 pm.

Heavy rocket barrages were fired towards communities in southern Israel Monday evening shortly after the Israeli airforce began striking targets across the Gaza Strip in response to a long-range rocket struck a civilian home in central Israel some 12 hours earlier.

Israel’s military said that fighter planes and combat helicopters struck Hamas targets in Shati, Beit Hanoun, Saja'iya and other locations throughout the Gaza Strip, hitting targets which included military compounds, tunnel shafts that were used to transport weapons, military positions and rocket launching positions.


One of the targets struck by Israeli jets was the offices of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in the Rimal neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip. The building, the IDF said, served as an office for military meetings and as the headquarters of Hamas’ internal security forces was attacked in the past by Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012.

Local reports in Gaza said that the IDF also struck the home of the director of the General Intelligence in Gaza, Hammam Deeb.

The IDF Spokesperson's Office stated that another target was a three-story building that served as a “secret headquarters” of Hamas where militants belonging to the security and intelligence divisions of the organization were located.

Meanwhile local Palestinians in Gaza said the building served as an office building for the al-Moltazem insurance company.

“The IDF is determined to protect the citizens of Israel and is prepared and ready for various scenarios,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.

Lebanon’s al-Manar news reported that Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah met with a Hamas delegation, including Saleh Arouri, to “discuss coordination of stances towards Gaza” following the strikes.


As a precaution, the IDF instructed residents in Gaza border communities to remain close to bomb shelters or safe rooms, closed the Zikim beach and restricted gatherings of more than 100 people in open spaces and more than 300 people in closed spaces across the Gaza border communities.

Bomb shelters in Tel Aviv, Rishon Letzion and Beersheba in the south and in the  Mt. Carmel Regional Council, in northern Israel, were opened by authorities.

The IDF has also closed a number of roads and areas including the Black Arrow site close to the Gaza border following a security assessment. The military has also halted any agricultural work in fields near the border fence and all schools in the Eshkol and Ashkelon regional councils ended early and will be closed on Tuesday.

All public events scheduled to take place on Monday in the city of Ashkelon were also canceled,including a soccer game between local team Hapoel Ashkelon and Hapoel Ramat Hasharon.

Additional Iron Dome missile defense batteries were also deployed across the country.

Israel’s military has also deployed two infantry and armored brigades to southern Israel and has begun a limited call up for reservists in the intelligence and air defense corps. The two additional brigades sent to bolster the IDF’s Gaza Division with some 1,000 soldiers, had been conducting training exercises but were cut short due to the heightened tensions.

According to IDF Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis, the locally produced rocket was fired by Hamas operatives from a Hamas military post in Rafiah in the southern part of the Strip and had a range of 120 kilometers.

Manelis, who refused to answer if the rocket was fired accidentally or deliberately, said that it was serious incident and that Israel is holding Hamas responsible.

“The launch was carried out by Hamas from one of the group’s launchpads. We see Hamas as responsible for everything that happens in Gaza,” Manelis said on a call with reporters.

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