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IDF: Gaza fighting over for now

Army's Home Front Command says latest round of escalation in south over, gives area schools go-ahead to run as usual Monday; meanwhile, Islamic Jihad spokesman says terror group can fire deeper into Israel

The latest round of fighting in the Gaza-region is over, for now, IDF officials estimated Sunday evening.

 

The army's Home Front Command announced Sunday that schools in southern Israel can run normally Monday as there are no concerns that the latest escalation in the area would continue for another day.

 

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The IDF also lifted its ban on the gathering of large crowds in open or closed spaces.

 

Later Sunday, Egypt's ambassador to the Palestinian Authority said that his country was continuing its efforts to secure a stable ceasefire and "put an end to the aggression against Gaza. Palestinian websites quoted reports originating in Egypt whereby an agreement on a lull that went info effect at 10 pm was reached. There was no official confirmation of the report.

 

More Gaza rockets

The army's announcement came despite two more rocket attacks from Gaza Sunday evening; two Qassam fired from the Strip exploded in open territory, causing no casualties or damage. Three more rockets were fired from Gaza around midnight and landed in open spaces in the south.

 

Meawwhile, despite the IDF's reassuring message, the Ashkelon city hall and the Gan Yavne council announced that school will remain closed Monday after all. Other southern communities joined the annoucement later.

 

Iron Dome anti-missile system (Photo: Shaul Golan, Yedioth Aharonoth)
Iron Dome anti-missile system (Photo: Shaul Golan, Yedioth Aharonoth)

 

Gan Yavne sustained a Grad rocket hit over the weekend, and council head Dror Aharon said that he treats the army's directives as recommendations only. Ashkelon's Mayor Benny Vaaknin said the decision to keep schools closed stemmed from the fact that most of them are not fortified.

 

"I see no reason to run schools given the situation," he said.

 

Earlier Sunday, an Islamic Jihad spokesman in Gaza said that the group has the ability to fire deeper into Israel. "We have the capabilities and intend to extend the cycle and range of fire so that it includes new settlements and cities deep inside Israel," he said.

 

Meanwhile, IDF officials continued to look into what they characterized as a "mishap" that caused the Iron Dome anti-missile system to be deployed at a relatively late stage of Saturday's rocket barrage from Gaza. Initial tests performed by the Air Force revealed that the system's radar was not ready on time and that parts of the system were not calibrated properly.

 

'Attacks will have implications'

Relative quiet prevailed in the Gaza Strip Sunday, after several barrages hit various Israeli communities and claimed the life of one man Saturday night. The lull was breached earlier Sunday after the IDF struck a rocket cell and killed one terrorist. Late Sunday, an IDF aircraft targeted a rocket cell shortly after it fired at Israel. The army said identified a hit.

 

Saturday evening, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that the continuation of rocket attacks from the Strip “will have implications in the coming days.”

 

Lieberman, who spoke in Bosnia, said that Israel will not sit idle while rockets are being fired at the Jewish state.

 

“We do not seek a confrontation with the Palestinians and do not wish to escalate the situation, but we shall not sustain one barrage after another without responding,” he said.

 

Roee Nahmias, Shmulik Hadad, Tova Dadon, Yoav Zitun, Ronen Medzini and Tomer Velmer contributed to the story

 

 


פרסום ראשון: 10.30.11, 20:24
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