Israeli Sources: No Official Ceasefire, We’ll Hit Back If They Fire at Us

YERUSHALAYIM -
An IDF tank patrols near the border with the Gaza Strip, Tuesday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Wednesday morning in the Gaza border area dawned relatively quietly, with no new rockets being fired at Israel by Gaza Arab terrorists. There were mixed reports on the reason for that; according to Hamas, a ceasefire brokered by Egypt had been agreed to by the terror group and Israel, but Israeli security sources denied this. However, while there was no official agreement, Israel would not initiate fire against Gaza, but only retaliate if attacked.

Over 80 rockets were fired at Israel on Tuesday, with the last one fired at 5:15 a.m. Wednesday. Reports of negotiations for a ceasefire persisted overnight Tuesday, with Islamic Jihad claiming that “understandings” had been arrived at, but that Israel had rejected them. Throughout the night, Israeli forces pounded Islamic Jihad and Hamas targets, while Israelis in the Gaza border area spent the night in bomb shelters, as terrorists continued firing rocks at civilian targets. Media reports said that Egypt had initiated negotiations between Israel and the terror groups.

Ministers who spoke in various interviews Wednesday morning also indicated that Israel reserved the right to attack Hamas. On a tour of the border area Wednesday, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that there was no agreement on a ceasefire. Earlier, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Yediot Acharonot that “it appears we have no choice but to retake Gaza,” a sentiment seconded by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who said that such a plan was already in the works.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said that as far as he knew, there were no plans to reenter Gaza, but also denied that negotiations for a ceasefire were going on. “Israel responded to violence,” he told Yediot Acharonot. “We made the rules of the game clear. After the experience of the past few days, as Hamas and Islamic Jihad examine the damage to their infrastructure, they will understand that we have taken things to another level.”

Security officials said that Israeli forces hit 25 “high value” targets in Gaza overnight Tuesday, including weapons warehouses, a warehouse where drones were stored, workshops for the construction of rockets and motors, advance weapons workshops, terror training camps and other sites.