A Palestinian official said Wednesday that Egypt
has been able to mediate a truce between Israel, Hamas
and the Gaza terror groups, in an effort to bring the current round of escalation to its end.
The ceasefire is set to take effect at Midnight, Wednesday. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that Israel was "unfamiliar" with such an agreement.
Gaza terrorists fired 79 rockets at Israel
throughout Wednesday, the IDF
said. The Iron Dome
system intercepted eight of them.
Top Egyptian intelligence official Major General Nader al-Aasr reportedly headed the mediation.
Palestinian sources said that Hamas agreed to the ceasefire and has instructed its security forces to deploy along the Gaza border fence to prevent any fire by rogue militants.
Egyptian intelligence officials are said to be holding talks with various smaller militias in Gaza, in an effort to convince them not to violate the lull.
Remnants of a rocket in Eshkol (Photo: Adar Yahalom)
"The contacts Cairo made resulted in a verbal promise by Hamas to calm the situation down and Israel said it was monitoring calm on the ground and would refrain from attacks unless it was subject to rocket fire from Gaza," an Egyptian official familiar with the talks said earlier Wednesday.
It is possible that the Palestinians wish to avoid a conflict during the Eid al-Adha holiday.
Previous rounds of cross-border attacks have usually fizzled out in days, with both Israel and Hamas seemingly aware of the risks of ramping up the low-intensity conflict.
Israel's Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor
sent a letter to the UN Security Council recently, saying its silence vis-à-vis Gaza fire on Israel was essentially "green-lighting terror."
Prosor demanded an immediate UN censure to the fire, saying that the rocket salvos were crippling the lives of a million Israelis.
Israel, he added, "Will exercise any means necessary to protect its citizens."
Residents of the Gaza vicinity communities were relieved to learn of the ceasefire, but said that fears of the next round of escalation are always present.
"For us, the routine is being under fire, not having a ceasefire," Assaf, a high school senior from the Eshkol Regional Council, told Ynet. "We know it's only a matter of time until it starts up again."
On Wednesday night, the Eshkol, Sha'ar Hanegev, Sdot Negev and Hof Ashkelon regional councils announced schools will be open as usual on Thursday.
Sapir collage announced it will resume operations as well.
The Home Front Command's directive ordering residents and students to stay within close proximity to shelters, stands.
Also on Wednesday, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said
that Egypt "Will not abide an attack on the Palestinian people and we will not allow them to be under siege."
In a speech given for the Eid al-Adha holiday, he stressed that Cairo was "Not declaring war on anyone, but will stand by the Palestinians in any case of aggression against them."
You can contact Elior Levy, Ynet's Palestinian Affairs Correspondent, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Roi Kais and Reuters contributed to this report
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