HAMAS REPORTS CEASEFIRE: Israel Lifts Restrictions After Terrorists Fire 700 Rockets, Kill 4 Civilians

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The aftermath of a rocket fired from Gaza after it hit a vehicle in Ashdod, killing a 21-year-old American citizen, R' Pinchas Menahem Pashwazman HY”D (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The Israeli military lifted protective restrictions on residents in southern Israel on Monday, while Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror group reported a cease-fire deal had been reached to end the deadliest fighting between the two sides since a 2014 war.

4 Israeli civilians were killed in separate rocket attacks. They were the first Israeli fatalities from rocket attacks since the 50-day war in 2014.

The Islamic Jihad terror group, which Israel accused of instigating the latest violence, confirmed that a “mutual and concurrent” truce had been brokered by Egypt. Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said Egyptian mediators, along with officials from Qatar and the U.N., helped reach the deal. He said Hamas could still use “different pressuring tools” to pressure Israel into easing a crippling blockade of Gaza it has enforced along with Egypt.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointedly noted that “the campaign is not over, and it requires patience and judgment.”

The intense fighting over the past two days came to a halt in the early morning hours and residents on both sides went back to their daily routines. The IDF said that as of 7 a.m., “all protective restrictions in the home front will be lifted.”

Schools and roads had been closed, and residents had been encouraged to remain indoors and near bomb shelters as intense rocket fire pounded the area, threatening to devolve into all-out war.

Palestinian terrorists fired nearly SEVEN HUNDRED rockets into Israel, while the IDF responded with airstrikes on some 350 terror targets inside Gaza, including weapons storage, attack tunnels and rocket launching and production facilities.

Palestinian medical officials reported 23 terrorists killed in the retaliatory airstrikes.

It also deployed tanks and infantry forces to the Gaza frontier, and put another brigade on standby. A Hamas commander involved in transferring Iranian funds to the group was killed in an airstrike, in an apparent return to Israel’s policy of “targeting killing” of terror leaders.

Egyptian mediators had been working with the U.N. to broker a cease-fire. Under past Egyptian-brokered deals, Israel has agreed to ease its joint blockade of Gaza with Egypt in exchange for a halt to rocket fire.

The latest fighting broke out Friday after Palestinian terrorists opened fire on soldiers on the Israeli side of the Gaza border.

The terms of the latest deal were not known, but recent cease-fires have been short-lived.

In weary communities in southern Israel, there was criticism that the latest round of fighting had ended without tangible results — and no hope that it would not recur soon.

“When we have the upper hand, we need once and for all to finish the terror because this will repeat itself and will not stop,” said Jacque Mendel, a resident of the coastal city of Ashdod, where a man was killed in his car by a rocket Sunday night.

Despite its fierce response, Israel appears to have little appetite for another prolonged conflict. Later this week, the country marks Memorial Day, one of the most solemn days of the year, followed by the festive Independence Day. Next week, Israel is to host the popular Eurovision song contest and the backdrop of fighting would have likely overshadowed the occasions and deterred foreign tourists.

Netanyahu, who recently secured re-election in part thanks to the votes of the rocket-battered residents along the Gaza Strip frontier, has traditionally been cautious in his handling of Gaza, for fear of sparking an open-ended war with no clear endgame. But he is under pressure from the same electorate to end its anguish and his perspective coalition partners appear to favor a more hard-line agenda on Gaza.

Even within his own ruling Likud Party, Netanyahu faced unusual criticism for not going further to quash Gaza militants.

Likud lawmaker Gideon Saar wrote on Twitter that the reported cease-fire was not an achievement for Israel. “The timeframes between these violent attacks on Israel and its citizens are getting shorter and the terror groups in Gaza are getting stronger between them,” he wrote.

Benny Gantz, Israel’s emerging opposition leader, also criticized Netanyahu, saying that ending the current round amounted to “another surrender to the extortion of Hamas and the terror organizations.”

In Gaza, a year of Hamas-led protests along the Israeli frontier against the blockade that has ravaged the economy has yielded no tangible benefits. In March, Hamas faced several days of street protests over the dire conditions.

Still, Hamas’ leader Ismail Haniyeh said late Sunday that the group was “not interested in a new war,” and the start on Monday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan likely lessened motivation for battle.

Signs of normal life slowly returned to Gaza, with banks opening after three days; schools are to reopen on Tuesday.

EARLIER COVERAGE ON YWN: 

[TERROR DEATH TOLL RISES: 3 Additional Fatalities, Multiple Injuries as Rocket Fire Continues [VIDEO & PHOTOS]

[TERROR IN ASHDOD: AMERICAN Chareidi Man R”L Killed By Rocket Attack – Third Fatality On Sunday]

[TARGETED ASSASSINATIONS: Air Strike in Gaza Eliminates Two Terrorist Commanders Including Hamas’s Iran Money Man]

[Baruch Da’ayan HaEmmes: Israeli Man Killed as Gaza Rocket Strikes Ashkelon Home]

(AP)




11 COMMENTS

  1. Enough with the ceasefires! We see the same story over and over. Hamas gears up and fires a barrage of rockets while their leaders take cover underground. They negotiate a ceasefire while they regroup and stockpile rockets for the next barrage. Enough is enough. Take care of the problem once and for all.

  2. CEASE FIRE???? WASTE OF TIME !!!!

    We don’t need or want a cease fire. We want the top hamas people hung dead! without getting rid of those at the top we only will have repeat attacks each time Iran delivers more rockets and money to Hamas.

    Get Hamas out and bury their bodies and of the families too who support terror at sea! Then we will have real peace!

  3. Again?

    The Palis y”sh ran out of rockets and need time to re-arm and replenish their supplies. That’s their goal in a ceasefire. They get to inflict as much damage as they can, but Israel must be stopped from retaliating. Well, Israel should NOT retaliate. It is not about revenge, as sweet as that might be. Israel needs the green light to destroy any capability these savages have of committing further violence. Yes, that means targeted assassinations, it means leveling their schools and hospitals, that are launching pads, it means eliminating any infrastructure they have. It means not sending them gasoline, and keeping the fishing restrictions intense. They need to face their own death every single day until they abandon their murderous ideology. Israel has always managed to be strong armed into leaving the Palis the resources and capabilities to remain a threat.

    When we read about the Israeli airstrikes destroying rocket manufacturing sites, it is obvious that Israel knew of their existence and location. Why were they allowed to remain until the rockets got aimed and fired?

    The only safe Muslim is one without any weapons at all. No ceasefire until they are completely stripped of any weapons.

  4. In Gaza, a year of Hamas-led protests along the Israeli frontier against the blockade that has ravaged the economy has yielded no tangible benefits.

    Protests? Violent riots and attacks on Israel. The blockade is 100% legitimate and no amount of rioting will stop it.

    How many more protesters must be shot, rockets must be fired, and little kids must be killed until the endless cycle of violence ends?

    How many more rioters must be shot? Until they’re all dead or stop rioting. That’s how many. No rockets “must” be fired, nor little kids killed; the Arabs choose to fire the rockets and bring little kids to the riots (or just say they did when in fact they died of something else). It takes two to make peace, but only one to make war. But in fact very few little kids have been killed; almost all the minors killed have been teenage combatants, who *should* be killed.

  5. The colorful tlaib looks like the definition of “dual loyalties”, however, that would imply two loyalties. In reality, she only has the one loyalty, and it’s not to her voters.