In first since onset of hostilities, Gaza rockets fired toward Jerusalem area

With 13-hour lull in rocket fire, sirens blare across southern Israeli cities and in areas near Jerusalem, as rocket barrages resume IDF resumes attacks on Islamic Jihad posts in Gaza while Israel stalls truce talks

Itamar Eichner, Daniel Salami, Elisha Ben Kimon, Matan Tzuri|Updated:

After 13 hours of tense calm along the Gaza Strip border, Islamic Jihad resumed rocket attacks toward southern Israel Friday noon and for the first time since the onset of fighting, also launched rockets toward the Jerusalem area, with warning sirens sounding in Beit Shemesh, Nes Harim, and Alon Shvut on the West bank.
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The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted several rockets, but some caused damage to homes and a greenhouse in communities in the Eshkol Regional Council and a home in Sderot. No injuries were reported.
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תיעוד: רסיסי יירוט מהמטח לירושלים
תיעוד: רסיסי יירוט מהמטח לירושלים
Rocket intercepted in Jerusalem area
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יירוטים מעל אשקלון
יירוטים מעל אשקלון
The Iron Dome intercepts a rocket over the skies of Ashkelon
(Photo: Amnon Ziv)
In response, the IDF attacked Islamic Jihad military posts in Rafah and hit two militants in the southern part of the Strip who had prepared to fire rockets.
Shortly before the barrage of about 10 rockets fired at Ashkelon, residents in Sderot were warned to remain vigilant as there is still concern about rocket fire.
Meanwhile, cease-fire negotiations between the sides continue, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a security assessment with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, and Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar.
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תקיפת צה"ל
תקיפת צה"ל
IDF strikes Gaza on Friday
(Photo: AP)
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פגיעה של רקטה בבית בניר עם
פגיעה של רקטה בבית בניר עם
Rocket lands on a home near the Gaza border on Friday
According to an Israeli source in Jerusalem, until the latest barrage of rockets, the sides made strides in truce talks after Islamic Jihad secured what it viewed as a victory, following the killing of an Israeli senior citizen in an attack on the central city of Rehovot on Thursday.
Immediately following the attack, Israeli sources said they were suspending talks while rocket fire continued.
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ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו, שר הביטחון יואב גלנט, וראש המוסד דוד ברנע
ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו, שר הביטחון יואב גלנט, וראש המוסד דוד ברנע
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (L) Mossad chied Dedi Barne and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: GPO)
The PIJ had retreated from its demand for the return of the body of Khadar Adnan, a senior Islamic Jihad operative who died in an Israeli prison after a three-month hunger strike. A Palestinian source told BBC Arabic that the efforts to reach a truce "encountered obstacles".
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ירי מרצועת עזה
ירי מרצועת עזה
Rockets fired from Gaza late on Thursday
(Photo: AFP)
Meanwhile, Israeli attacks in the Strip continued with relatively low intensity overnight and in the morning, while there were no rocket launches towards Israel since 10 pm Thursday.
An Israeli source stated that the "obstacle" preventing progress is Israel's refusal to commit to a cessation of targeted killings, and both sides are seeking a formula that they can agree on.
"Ultimately, they want to reach a situation where there are no targeted killings between rounds," the official said. "In practice, there have been no targeted killings without Jihad firing in more than a decade. It may end in oral understandings as it has in the past."
According to the official, "the Israeli message to Islamic Jihad is that every moment that passes they may lose more assets, so it's better for them to agree to a cease-fire as soon as possible."
The debate between the warring sides is primarily semantic: Islamic Jihad demands a commitment to something that happens anyway when they do not fire. That is, there are no targeted killings without rockets.
According to the BBC report, "the cease-fire agreement will be discussed between Egyptian President al-Sisi, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, King Abdullah of Jordan, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken."
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ראש הממשלה נתניהו בהערכת מצב במזכירות הצבאית
ראש הממשלה נתניהו בהערכת מצב במזכירות הצבאית
Prime Minister Benjamin Netyanyahu in a situation assessment
(Photo: Kobe Giden, GPO)
Apart from the BBC, Arab television channel ar-Rad reported that "the cease-fire talks in Gaza being conducted by Egypt and the UN are very difficult, but negotiators are optimistic about the possibility of reaching a cease-fire agreement within a few hours."
The report also noted that the main obstacle currently is Israel's demand to stop targeted killings in the Strip, but it is also claimed that Israel is trying to be the one to "have the final say" before the cease-fire goes into effect. The report also stated that "a final text for the cease-fire agreement is currently being worked on."
Mohammed al-Hindi, the head of the Islamic Jihad’s politburo and the organization's representative in cease-fire talks in Egypt, met Wednesday with the head of Egyptian intelligence Abbas Kamel in Cairo. Speaking to Qatar-based Al Araby TV, al-Hindi said that "the talks continue, and we hope to reach an honorable agreement that reflects the interests of the Palestinian people."
Meanwhile, shortly before midnight, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office released an official statement following a security assessment, stating that "the operation will continue as necessary." Senior Israeli officials defined the chances of a cease-fire as "50-50", adding that "as long as there is no progress, we will not stop. If there are targets - we hit them. We give them an opportunity, but we don't give them endless credit."
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An Israeli Iron Dome anti-missile system is activated as rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, near Ashdod
An Israeli Iron Dome anti-missile system is activated as rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, near Ashdod
An Israeli Iron Dome anti-missile system is activated as rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, near Ashdod
(Photo: Reuters)
According to reports, Egypt has been attempting to broker a cease-fire agreement between the two sides since Tuesday, but so far, its efforts have been unsuccessful.
Islamic Jihad insists on an Israeli commitment to cease targeted killings, and releasing the body of hunger-striking prisoner Khader Adnan, as part of the truce. Israel was not planning on holding Adnan's body, but it is also not willing to release it as part of a cease-fire, nor is it willing to commit to stopping targeted killings. Initially, Islamic Jihad also called for the cancellation of the Jerusalem Flag March next week, but this has now been taken off the table.
Meanwhile, Operation Shield and Arrow continues at a relatively low intensity. The IDF conducted attacks Thursday night and early Friday on military positions and rocket launchers of the Islamic Jihad throughout Gaza.
Since the beginning of the operation, 215 targets in the Palestinian enclave have been attacked, 260 rockets were intercepted by Israeli air defenses, 163 unsuccessful launches were detected (one out of every five), and a total of 866 rockets were fired into Israel. The IDF says that one reason why Islamic Jihad has not been firing at night is that the military is targeting the firing positions.
First published: 10:27, 05.12.23
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