An Islamic Jihad leader said that the orgaization was committed to the ceasefire that has been brokered by Egypt after a day of violence saw nine Palestinian operatives and an Israeli civilian killed.
"The Islamic Jihad is committed to the truce as long the occupation (Israel) agrees to do so," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
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Burned cars in Ashdod on Sunday morning (Photo: Avi Rokach)
Another senior member of the terrorist group that led the rocket attacks said the group was ready to stop firing rockets if Israel halted its air attacks.
"When all jet fighters leave the skies of Gaza we will stop firing rockets," said Dawud Shehab of Islamic Jihad.
Defense officials said Israel was also holding back in an effort to keep the violence from escalating further.
Iron Dome missile battery near Ashdod (Photo: Avi Rokach)
Earlier, Egyptian officials said they tried to arrange a cease-fire set at 3 am Sunday, but did not win agreement from factions responsible for the rocket attacks.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel's policy in the Gaza Strip included two main principles: "Kill or be killed" and "Hurt us – on your own head be it".
"We are not uncontrolled and do not seek a deterioration, but we will defend ourselves according to these principles," Netanyahu stressed. Meanwhile, at the end of a briefing on the security situation in the south, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that he suggests that "the heads of Hamas and Islamic Jihad not test Israel's capabilities".
Rina Rabinovitch shows rocket damage in her house (Photo: Avi Rokach)
As a precautionary measure, some 200,000 children stayed home from school on Sunday due the tense security situation. Schools were closed in towns within 40 km of the Gaza Strip, including Beersheba, Ashkelon and Kiryat Malachi. Ben Gurion University did not launch the academic year.
Schools in Sderot, and the Sha'ar Hanegev and Eshkol regional councils remained open.
AP, AFP and Ynet contributed to the report
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