Life back to "normal" as shaky ceasefire with Islamic Jihad holds

Close to 100 rockets were fired by the Iranian-backed terror group over the course of two days

Trails are seen in the sky as Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets in Ashkelon, southern Israel February 24, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
Trails are seen in the sky as Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets in Ashkelon, southern Israel February 24, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
Roads reopened and train service resumed in southern Israel on Tuesday morning as Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Israel accepted a fragile ceasefire after two days of rocket fire by the Iranian-backed terrorist group.
Restrictions on carrying out agricultural work close to the Gaza border as well as a prohibition on large public outdoor gatherings were also lifted.
Despite the calm following the announcement of a ceasefire by the terrorist group which went into effect at 11:30 p.m., schools remained closed in Ashkelon, Netivot, Sderot and the surrounding regional councils. As a result of the precautionary school closures, 55,000 students stayed home.
Over the course of Sunday and Monday, close to 100 rockets and mortars were fired by PIJ toward southern Israeli communities in response to the killing of its operatives in the Gaza Strip and Syria. The IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit said 90% of the projectiles fired at residential areas were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
While most of the other rockets landed in open fields, one fell near a playground in Sderot and another in the yard of a private home. In Netivot, rocket shrapnel fell near a house.
Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon reported that 21 Israelis were treated for injuries sustained while running for shelter, most were lightly injured.
Due to the violence, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced all crossings with Gaza would be closed (with the exception of a crossing permitted open at Kerem Shalom for exceptional humanitarian needs), no merchants would be able to cross into Israel, and the fishing zone would be closed until further notice.
The hostilities began on Sunday when Israel killed a PIJ terrorist who had planted an explosive device and prevented Palestinians from retrieving his body in a graphic video that went viral. Israel then came under a barrage of 26 rockets, leading the IAF to carry out retaliatory airstrikes against PIJ targets in Syria and throughout the Gaza Strip following earlier rocket fire, killing at least six terrorists.
On Monday evening, PIJ announced it had “finished its military response to the assassination crimes in Khan Younis and Damascus,” but warned it would respond to any “continued [aggression] by the occupation against our people and land.”
While several rockets were fired following the announcement of the ceasefire by the terror group, no rockets were launched after 11 p.m.
An Israeli security official said Monday evening that while Jerusalem has received “messages from various ranks within the PIJ regarding a desire for an immediate ceasefire,” Israel was “skeptical” of the claims and would believe only actions on the ground rather than words.
“The IDF will continue to act until quiet is restored to the South,” the official said.