The residents of southern Israel made a wary return to normalcy on Tuesday after two days of rocket barrages courtesy of Palestinian Islamic Jihad seemed over in an unofficial ceasefire.
Schools in Ashkelon, Netivot, Sderot and the Gaza border communities remained closed on Tuesday, but roads reopened and trains were running. Localities near the border also lifted the advisory for the public to stay close to bomb shelters, and agricultural work and large outdoor gatherings were again permitted.
The ceasefire went into effect at 11:30 p.m. Monday, after an initial 10:00 deadline was almost immediately violated by attacks from Gaza, drawing more airstrikes from Israel.
B’chasdei shamayim, there were no serious injuries on the Israeli side. Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon reported that 21 Israelis were treated for minor injuries sustained while running for shelter.
The fighting was sparked on Sunday morning when Israeli soldiers killed a member of Islamic Jihad who was planting a bomb along the border, and then sent a tractor to retrieve the corpse. The scene, caught in a video, provoked anger in Gaza.
In the two-day flareup, Islamic Jihad terrorists in the Strip fired over 90 rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel. Some 90 percent of rockets heading for towns and cities were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system, according to the IDF.
Due to the violence, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced that all crossings with Gaza would be closed (except for special humanitarian cases), no merchants would be able to cross into Israel, and the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast would be completely closed until further notice.