Hours before a ceasefire was expected to be announced Tuesday evening, Gaza militants launched salvo after salvo of rockets on southern Israeli cities and communities. Code Red sirens blared from Ashkelon to Ofakim to Be'er Sheva after 5 pm.
Two Israelis were killed and one wounded by Gaza mortar fire on an Eshkol community; Magen David Adom emergency personnel treated the victims under fire, with one in severe condition. Three additional people sustained light injuries.
Ashdod kindergarten hit by rocket (Photo: Avi Rokach)
Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for a rocket fired at Tel Aviv, which fell in the Mediterranean Sea. Meanwhile, the mortar fire on Gaza-border communities continued despite the reports of a pending ceasefire.
Between 5 to 6 pm, Iron Dome intercepted one rocket over Kiryat Malakhi, one rocket over Ashdod, and one rocket over Ashkelon. In a later barrage, the missile defense system intercepted two rockets over Ofakim.
Residents of Gaza-border communities - which had only recently left their kibbutzim and towns due to the war of attrition launched by Hamas - are taking the announcements of a new ceasefire with a grain of salt.
One Nahal Oz resident told Ynet: "We've already lived through this movie. We also returned in the last ceasefire and we all know what happenned. The ceasefires did not help anyone. I won't dare return home yet; it's not over until it's over."
Ilana Curiel contributed to this report.