Residents of the Gaza vicinity woke up to a particularly tense Friday morning, after a relatively quiet night in the area. The Homefront Command issued new instructions to the residents, after more than 180 launches from Gaza were identified yesterday. Hamas has once again unilaterally declared a ceasefire, adding it reserves the right to respond to Israeli aggressions and violations of the ceasefire.
Thus, at the end of the assessment of the situation, it was decided in Netivot and in the settlements of the Negev Center to return to full routine, in accordance with the instructions of the Homefront Command. It was also reported that the Ashkelon-Sderot railway line has returned to regular activity. Zikim Beach remains closed to the public. The Eshkol Regional Council issued a statement to the residents stating that after assessing the situation with the IDF, “educational institutions, kindergartens and summer camps can be operated in all the communities within a protected area only.”
Arab media reported this morning that Hamas had agreed to expand the role of Egyptian mediators in arranging a cease-fire in the region. It was also reported that Hamas had agreed that Egypt would serve as the only mediator in a prisoner exchange deal to be carried out as part of the arrangement.
Al-Arabi Al-Jadid reported that senior members of the organization agreed to any Egyptian supervision in any form in Gaza, which would enable the lifting of the blockade. The sources also referred to the initiative to establish a port in Gaza, noting that Hamas would agree only to international and Egyptian supervision there. They also said that Hamas welcomed the initiative to build an airport in the Sinai Peninsula for the residents of Gaza.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)