Quiet descends on south as ceasefire takes hold, but Israel remains wary

Tense calm characterized the ceasefire that took hold on Tuesday morning between Israel and Islamic Jihad. 

By David Isaac, World Israel News

A tense silence enveloped the communities in Israel’s south near the Gaza Strip as a ceasefire was honored by the two sides on Tuesday morning.

Islamic Jihad spokesman Mosab Barim said on Tuesday morning that the ceasefire agreement was reached following efforts by Egyptian and UN mediators.

The ceasefire officially took effect at 11:30 p.m. on Monday night but Islamic Jihad fired at least two rockets only hours later.

However, Israel is preparing for the worst and moved forces on Monday to strengthen communities in the area and reinforce the Gaza border.

The Home Front Command also extended restrictions and closures from Monday.

In southern cities, including Ashkelon, Netivot and Sderot, no more than 300 people can congregate in closed spaces. The authorities want to avoid a potential disaster if a rocket strikes a large gathering.

Schools remained closed and non-essential jobs could only take place on condition that nearby designated shelters could be reached by the required time.

Israeli residents only have seconds to reach shelter when a red alert siren is sounded signaling incoming rockets. All homes are required to have a reinforced room into which homeowners can escape.

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Often, injuries occur as people rush to shelter. Since the start of the recent escalation, 21 casualties have been treated at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon. Among them one in moderate condition, 15 in mild condition and five suffering from anxiety.

Adelle Raemer, an activist living in the south who documents attacks on her Facebook page, said in an interview with i24NEWS on Monday that every rocket launch takes a toll on residents.

Over the course of Monday, 109 rockets were launched at southern communities.