Iron Dome battery in Israel..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel has apparently rejected a Hamas request for a 24 hour humanitarian cease-fire as the terror group continues to fire rockets into Israel, although no official response was issued.
The Hamas request was made just before 2 p.m. on Sunday. Israel had earlier agreed to a 24 hour UN requested humanitarian truce, but canceled the cease-fire amid continued rocket fire from Gaza.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Hamas had violated its own offer of a 24-hour humanitarian truce in Gaza.
Asked whether Israel would accept the truce offer, Netanyahu told CNN: "Hamas doesn't even accept its own cease-fire, it's continuing to fire at us as we speak."
Netanyahu added that Israel "will take what ever action is necessary to protect our people."
The IDF on Sunday resumed striking targets in the Gaza Strip after Hamas rocket fire broke the original cease-fire.
Among the targets struck by the IDF were concealed rocket launchers, which were behind the projectile fire into Israel.
The IDF also struck a terror tunnel in Gaza, as well as three terror operatives.
The order to resume the Gaza offensive came from Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon after some 25 rockets were fired from Gaza Sunday despite Israel's agreement to extend a UN humanitarian cease-fire.
"Yet again Hamas is cynically exploiting the residents of Gaza in order to use them as human shields. Hamas first rejected the Egyptian cease-fire initiative and afterwards violated last week's UN humanitarian truce. It later violated the Red Cross humanitarian truce and has rebuffed the UN request for a humanitarian truce in order to allow the residents of Gaza to prepare for Eid al-Fitr," a government statement said.
The IDF announced it would be resuming attacks on terror targets in the Gaza Strip through the air, sea and on the ground.
In light of the decision, the IDF called on civilians in Gaza to avoid areas where fighting was taking place.
Prior to the announcement, rocket sirens wailed in southern and central Israel on Sunday morning as Israel's Gaza operation entered its twentieth day. Rocket alert air raid sirens were sounded in the Shfela and Sharon regions on Sunday morning around 8:25 a.m. One rocket landed in an open area in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.
In addition, the police reported a barrage of rocket fire on villages in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
Rocket alert sirens sounded in the Ashdod and Ashkelon regions Sunday morning around 8:10 a.m. Interceptions were heard over the cities.
The security cabinet on Saturday night had decided to accede to a UN request and agree to a 24-hour extension
of a humanitarian cease-fire until midnight Sunday.
Diplomatic officials said Saturday that despite the cease-fire, the IDF would act against any violation of the truce by the other side. In addition, during the lull in the fighting, the IDF said it would "continue to neutralize the terror tunnels inside Gaza. Four terror tunnels were neutralized in Gaza on Saturday, despite the cease fire that was in place from 8:00 a.m."
The security cabinet will meet again on Sunday.
There appeared to be little progress on the diplomatic front and in international efforts to secure an end to the conflict.
US Secretary of State John Kerry flew back to Washington overnight after meeting in Paris with foreign ministers of France, Italy, Britain, Germany, Turkey and Qatar.Herb Keinon and Reuters contributed to this report.