Hamas says it will withhold fire if Israel does the same

After rocket fire over weekend, group's spokesman says after meeting with faction heads that Hamas "committed to restoring a de-facto ceasefire."

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
March 26, 2011 20:09
2 minute read.
A Palestinian terrorist fires a rocket into Israel

Palestinian terrorist 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Hamas officials said on Saturday that its members in Gaza had agreed to halt their rocket fire at Israel if Israel stops launching strikes against targets in the coastal territory.

Hamas spokesman Ismail Rudwan said after a meeting with faction heads over a surge in cross-border tensions, that Hamas was "committed as long as the occupation [Israel] was committed" to restoring a de-facto ceasefire.

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Moments before the meeting started, a Kassam rocket exploded in the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries were reported and no damage was caused.

Earlier on Saturday, OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo said on Saturday that "there is anarchy in Gaza and Hamas."

Russo toured the house in the Negev that was hit Friday night by a Kassam rocket and stated that "it is difficult now for Hamas to turn the wheel back."

Late Friday night a Kassam rocket exploded in Eshkol Regional Council area, causing damage to one house but no injuries.

A local official said authorities were searching for a second rocket that had fallen in an open area.


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On Thursday, a rocket fired from Gaza exploded north of Ashdod. While there were no injuries, Magen David Adom crew treated a number of people for shock.

Earlier Friday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak confirmed that he authorized the deployment of the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Speaking during a tour of the Gaza region, Barak said: "I authorized the IDF in the coming days to authorize the first operational deployment of Iron Dome batteries, here in the southern region."

The test deployment, he said, "will continue for several weeks and the layout will vary with operational needs."

The defense minister praised Iron Dome's technology, calling it an "extraordinary development" by the defense industry. He cautioned, however, that it does not provide a 100 percent solution to the rocket threat.

The Iron Dome system will be part of the IDF's solution to the barrage of rockets fired into southern Israel from Gaza in the last week, a statement from the IDF spokesperson said.

Iron Dome is designed to defend against rockets at a range of 4-70 km and each battery consists of a multi-mission radar manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries and three launchers, each equipped with 20 interceptors named Tamir.

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