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Fire renewd (Illustration)
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov
Grad rocket fired at Ashkelon; mortars hit western Negev
Despite statements supporting ceasefire, Gaza terror groups fire missile at southern city, multiple rockets at Gaza vicinity regional councils. Iron Dome system engaged

A Grad rocket reportedly aimed at Ashkelon was fired Sunday from northern Gaza.

 

The Iron Dome system was engaged, but it is unclear at this time whether the rocket was intercepted or landed in an open area. So far, eight rockets have been intercepted by Iron Dome.

 

Shortly thereafter, two rockets hit open areas in Sha'ar HaNegev and Sdot Negev regional councils. No injuries or damage were reported

 

The Grad launch followed that of three mortar shells, which landed in various areas in Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries were reported. One of the rockets, which were fired around 6 am, hit a power cable, causing a partial blackout in some of the Council's communities.

 

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The rocket fire breached the relatively quiet night, which followed a weekend of shelling – over 120 rockets and mortar shells were fired on Israel's south by Gaza terror groups. The IDF mounted several airstrikes in retaliation, targeting some 10 terror cells and 15 terror hubs in the Strip.

 

Israel believes the tense weekend has prompted Hamas' political wing to seek ways to clam things on the ground, but the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, has yet to have the final say.

 

"There is no way to speak of a lull between us and the occupation while it is harming our people. The blood of our citizens will not be spilled in vain," Hamas military wing spokesman Abu Obaida said Saturday.

 

Gaza groups at odds

Palestinian sources told the United Press news agency that a ceasefire agreement between Israel and the Palestinian factions has been reached, with the mediation of a third party, which they refused to name.

 

According to the sources, the military wings of the various Gaza groups were reluctant to agree to an armistice following what they called "the Israeli escalation." Still, the militant groups gave their agreement to the truce in principle, as they desire to avoid any further escalation.

 

Hamas sources told the news agency that both the United States and various Arab nations vigorously pursed the lull vis-à-vis both parties. Senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil was quoted as saying the factions agreed to the lull so to "spare war from Palestinian women and children."

 

Other Palestinian sources alleged that UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry brokered the ceasefire, which was deems acceptable by all Palestinian factions in Gaza Strip – excluding the Islamic Jihad's military wing.  

 

Later Sunday, the Islamic Jihad's al-Quds Brigades agreed to join the ceasefire in Gaza, as long as Israel remained committed to it, "and cease all aggressive acts." The group's spokesman said the Islamic Jihad :reserved the right to retaliate against any act by Israel in the Strip

 

Elior Levy, Hanan Greenberg, Ilana Curiel and Shmulik Hadad contributed to this report

 

 

 


First published: 10.04.11, 07:13
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