Photo: Reuters
Destruction in Gaza after IAF attack
Photo: Reuters

Tense calm in southern Israel, Gaza after night of rockets, IAF strikes

Some 30 rockets fired after truce announced by Palestinian officials was to due to take effect; IAF strikes hundreds of Hamas targets in Strip; Netanyahu to hold security meeting at Defense Ministry HQ after rushing back from US

A tense quiet has taken hold after Gaza militants fired at least 100 rockets into southern Israel and Israeli aircraft carried out hundreds of strikes in the Hamas-ruled territory overnight Tuesday, despite Palestinian sources claiming that a ceasefire had been reached.



Despite Palestinian officials saying Egypt had mediated a truce late on Monday — which was expected to take effect at 10pm — at least 30 rockets had been fired at southern Israel throughout the night. There were no reports of casualties.  


IDF tanks gather on Gaza border    (צילום: רויטרס)

IDF tanks gather on Gaza border   (צילום: רויטרס)


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The latest round of violence began early Monday when seven Israelis, including an infant, were wounded when a house in a moshav northeast of Tel Aviv was directly hit by a long-range rocket fired from Gaza by what the IDF said were Hamas operatives.


The Israeli military said it was a self-manufactured rocket with a range of 120 kilometers (75 miles), making it one of the deepest strikes ever carried out by Hamas.


House destroyed by Gaza rocket (Photo: Yair Sagi)
House destroyed by Gaza rocket (Photo: Yair Sagi)


School in southern Israel was cancelled on Tuesday following the violence that erupted just two weeks ahead of Israeli elections. Israeli communities near the Gaza border, as well as the southern cities of Be'er Sheva, Ashdod and Ashkelon all announced the cancellation of all school activities following consultations with the Home Front Command.


At around 11:20pm Monday, a barrage of rockets was fired at the southern city of Netivot, as well as the regional councils of Sha'ar HaNegev, Sedot Negev and Bnei Shimon. At around 1am, rocket alert sirens blared in the Eshkol Regional Council and the town of Sderot, where a rocket hit a house just hours earlier but didn’t explode.


IDF tanks on the Israel-Gaza border (Photo: EPA)
IDF tanks on the Israel-Gaza border (Photo: EPA)


In Gaza, it was reported that Israeli naval ships targeted the Khan Younis port, while Israeli warplanes struck an underground facility east of Gaza City near the security fence. "If the aggression continues, the resistance will not hesitate for a moment to fulfill its role," the Palestinian Islamic Jihad said in a statement. Israeli officials, however, stressed that “everything depends on Hamas."


The Israeli air force also pounded a multistory building in Gaza City that Israel said had served as a Hamas military intelligence headquarters and the office of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Gaza's Health Ministry said seven Palestinians were wounded in the airstrikes.


Destruction in Gaza after IAF attack (Photo: Reuters)
Destruction in Gaza after IAF attack (Photo: Reuters)


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a visit to the United States, and rushed back to to Israel after a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House. He was expected to convene a meeting with top security officials at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv shortly after landing in Israel.


During the meeting with President Trump, Netanyahu said Israel will "respond forcefully to this wanton aggression," adding that "After this meeting, I will return home ahead of schedule to lead the people of Israel and the soldiers of Israel."


Associated Press contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 03.26.19, 08:38
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