Ceasefire brings Israel tense calm as Hamas rocket onslaught ends

Palestinian terror group Hamas appeared to be holding to a ceasefire it claimed went into effect at midnight, which brought to a close two days of rocket attacks on southern Israel.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff

Leaders of Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, appeared to be honoring a cease-fire Friday that ended two days of rocket attacks launched by the terror group, amid efforts by neighboring Egypt to negotiate between the two sides.

Israel’s military said that no rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel overnight and it conducted no airstrikes in Gaza against Hamas targets. Israel’s government hasn’t confirmed the truce.

Hamas’ Al Aqsa TV channel reported late Thursday that the Egyptian-brokered deal has taken hold “on the basis of mutual calm.” It was the third such truce in recent weeks.

However, the deal did not seem to address the deeper issues that have prevented the bitter enemies from reaching a longer cease-fire arrangement.

Gaza terrorists fired some 200 rockets at Israel and the Israeli military carried out retaliatory airstrikes in Gaza in this latest round of violence.

Also Friday, the Israeli military lifted restrictive recommendations for residents of some areas in southern Israel that it had set amid the Palestinian bombing, including suggestions to avoid open areas and beaches.

Read  Hamas chief in Moscow for talks with Russian FM

“Following a security assessment,” residents can resume their daily routine, the military said.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamic terror group seized control of Gaza in 2007. In this week’s fighting, the Palestinian Health Ministry said three Palestinians were killed. Israeli officials said seven people were wounded by rocket or mortar fire on the Israeli side.

Israel and Hamas have come close to serious conflict in recent weeks after four months of violence along Gaza’s border.

Hamas has led weekly violent riots near the border since March, which include both attempts to infiltrate Israeli territory and daily airborne arson attacks using balloon and kites with incendiary devices attached to them.

The incendiary devices are flown across the border and have sparked large fires that have destroyed thousands of acres of forests, burned crops and killed wildlife and livestock.

Palestinians have also thrown explosive devices and opened fire at forces along the border in numerous instances over the past few months, the military says.