Terror groups in Gaza fired a barrage of Qassam rockets at Israel's south Sunday evening just 20 minutes after a ceasefire declared by Hamas was to go into effect. One of the rockets, fired at Ashkelon, was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system.
After midnight, two more rockets were fired from Gaza at southern Israel. The Qassams landed in the Sderot area, causing no injuries or damages. Around 1:20, a Gaza rocket was fired at the city of Ashkelon, prompting the activation of air raid sirens. Officials later said the rocket was intercepted by Iron Dome.
South under fire:
Earlier, Palestinian sources reported that the IDF retaliated by bombing a terror cell making its way through the northern Strip. A number of people were reportedly injured the strike.
At 9:20 pm terrorists fired three Qassam rockets at Ashkelon and Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. The first was intercepted by the missile defense system, and others exploded in open spaces, causing no injuries or damage.
A few minutes later a fourth Qassam hit open spaces in Shaar Hanegev Regional Council, and no injuries or damage were reported in this case, either. Rocket alerts sounded in towns and cities throughout the area.
Then, at around 11:30 pm, two additional rockets exploded in open spaces in the western Negev.
Three mortar shells were also fired earlier at Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries or damage were reported. Head of the council, Haim Yalin, was enraged at the reports. "I don't see any ceasefire, and I don't recognize any ceasefire. Since when is there a ceasefire while rockets and mortars are being fired?" he asked.
Earlier a Hamas official in Gaza told the Associated Press that all of Gaza's militant groups had agreed to a cease-fire aimed at ending a three-day assault on Israel's southern communities.
The official said Egypt helped broker the cease-fire, which will go into effect Sunday evening. He says Egypt told the groups that Israel would halt its airstrikes only if the Palestinian groups stopped shooting first, and that Hamas security personnel would enforce the agreement.
A spokesman for Islamic Jihad confirmed the news of a ceasefire earlier, but the organization published a statement on one of the news agencies affiliated with it saying there was no rush to hold fire.
"Israel is the one that asked for a lull because of the situation it is in," the statement said.
A Popular Resistance Committees spokesman also issued a statement earlier, saying the group would not accept a ceasefire agreement with Israel.
"Our stance is clear. We have no connection to the ceasefire agreement with the Zionist enemy," Abu Mujahed told a Palestinian news agency.
He said Israel had stepped up violence by assassinating members of the PRC and that it had to take responsibility for its actions. "We cannot accept a ceasefire while airstrikes continue to reverberate everywhere," Abu Mujahed said, adding that the ceasefire was "cursed".
Elior Levy, Ilana Curiel, Shmulik Hadad and Tova Dadon contributed to this report