Ceasefire in Effect, But Rockets Still Fall Overnight

YERUSHALAYIM -
A Palestinian passes a building that was destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, after hundreds of missiles were fired at Israeli cities, Sunday. (Reuters/Suhaib Salem)

The proclamation of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas at around midnight Motzoei Shabbos did nothing to stop the dribble of missile fire by the Gaza terror group at Israeli cities. The Red Alert warning system sounded several times overnight Motzoei Shabbos, with Israel responding by hitting Hamas targets in Gaza. All of the Hamas rockets fell in open areas, and one was shot down by an Iron Dome defensive rocket. There were no injuries or damage reported.

The ceasefire was brokered by Egypt. Hamas and Islamic Jihad said that despite the over 200 rockets that the terror groups fired at Israel over Shabbos, they were not seeking an escalation of tensions. “The Zionist enemy must stop its attacks on Gaza. The resistance will halt its attacks as well. Israel was the first to attack in Gaza and it must stop its aggression.” In response to the ceasefire, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that “agreeing to the ‘deal’ that Hamas has dictated to us after two months of warfare by fire, and after they fired 200 rockets at us, is a big mistake. I said two months ago that if we restrain our response, and allow them to further violate our sovereignty, this will force us into extended war and fighting. The IDF must act decisively in this case.”

The IDF struck a wide range of targets in Gaza, including a high-rise building in the Al-Shati refugee camp and a large strike on a Hamas Battalion headquarters in Beit Lahia. (IDF Spokesman)

Residents of the south spent much of Shabbos and Motzoei Shabbos in bomb shelters, as Red Alert warnings sounded throughout the night and day – 165 altogether. Israeli planes attacked Hamas positions in the interior of Gaza throughout the day Shabbos. According to Channel 20, Israel was hit with over 200 missiles beginning after midnight Friday and through Motzoei Shabbos. Fifty of the rockets were shot down by the Iron Dome system. With all the rockets, there were just four light injuries, when four members of a family in Sderot were lightly wounded by shrapnel from a rocket that exploded near their home. A second rocket fell outside a shul in Sderot, but, b’chasdei Shamayim, no was injured in that attack. Most of the rockets that were not shot down fell in open areas, but some fell in towns and cities, causing several broken windows and damaging vehicles.

One rocket scored a direct hit on the Buchris family home in Sderot. “We were sitting in the living room and all of a sudden the aquarium exploded and there was smoke everywhere and glasses flew everywhere and we were filled with blood,” said Aharon Buchris, wounded along with his wife and two teenage daughters, as he awaited surgery in the hospital.

The Cabinet is set to meet on Sunday to discuss Israel’s next moves. Speaking Motzoei Shabbos, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Israel had decided to undertake a “significant” action against the Gaza terror group. “We will expand our response as needed,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “If Hamas does not understand the message in one way, it will understand it in another way. We have struck Hamas the hardest since it has been hit during Operation Protective Edge” in 2014.”

“We have no intention of tolerating rockets, kites, drones or anything. Hamas has sustained a heavy blow,” said Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. “I hope that Hamas will draw conclusions and if not, they will have to pay a heavy price.”

Meanwhile, Israeli forces will this week embark on a major exercise which will simulate a ground invasion of Gaza. Unit 162, which serves in the Gaza border area, will conduct the exercise at a specially built village that simulates the narrow, crowded streets of towns in Gaza. The IDF said that the exercise had been planned in advance, but that it was “very relevant” in light of the tension in the south.