Hamas signals readiness for truce, then fires rockets (ISRAEL HAYOM) Lilach Shoval, Ronit Zilberstein and Gadi Golan 06/21/12)
Israel Hayom Articles-Index-Top
Hamas military wing announces willingness to stop escalating the
violence as long as "occupation forces halt their aggression" • Some
70 rockets strike southern Israel on Wednesday, more than 120 rockets
since Monday • Route 12 in south closed by military order.
Hours after Hamas´ military wing announced Wednesday that it was
ready to sign an Egyptian-brokered truce to end three days of cross-
border fighting, seven rockets fired from the Gaza Strip slammed into
southern Israel within a one-hour span Thursday morning.
All seven rockets exploded in unpopulated areas, causing no injuries
or damage. The barrage came after about 70 rockets and mortar shells
were fired from Gaza into Israel the previous day.
Most of the rockets struck open areas, causing no injuries and only
some light property damage. Most of the rockets hit the areas
surrounding the Eshkol Regional Council, Shaar Hanegev and Sdot Negev
communities. A Grad rocket landed in an open area near Beersheba as
Shrapnel from a rocket launched at the Sdot Negev community damaged a
kibbutz home, and some kibbutz residents were treated for shock.
In all, more than 120 rockets have been launched from Gaza into
Israel since the current round of violence began on Monday.
In a statement, the militant wing of the Islamist Hamas group in
control of Gaza said Wednesday: "Responding to the Egyptian efforts,
we and the armed resistance announce our commitment to stop this
round of confrontation as long as the occupation halts their
In a message directed at Israel, Hamas wrote on its official website
that "the current round of clashes with the enemy has been undertaken
with a minimal use of fire, and the leaders of the occupation need to
understand that," Army Radio reported.
In an unprecedented move, the Israel Defense Forces deployed four
Iron Dome anti-rocket defense batteries near communities in the south
during the current round of attacks, one of which shot down a rocket
launched against the city of Sderot. The Iron Dome rocket defense
system is designed to intercept projectiles headed for populated
Monday´s violence erupted after a cross-border attack launched from
Egypt´s Sinai Peninsula killed an Israeli civilian. Israel shot dead
two of the attackers, then launched air strikes on Gaza, killing
eight, including Wednesday´s victims.
A newly formed radical Islamist movement, the Shura Council of
Mujahideen in the Holy Land, claimed responsibility for Monday´s raid
from Egypt. On Thursday, a Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman told the
Saudi Okaz newspaper that the ministry was investigating allegations
that one of the perpetrators of the border attack had been a Saudi
An Israeli raid on Wednesday killed a member of a fringe Islamist
Salafi network that was involved in Monday´s violence. He was struck
while riding his motorcycle in Rafah, near Gaza´s border with Egypt,
medical officials said.
In response to the ongoing rocket fire from Gaza, the Israel Air
Force bombed 11 targets in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. Among the
targets were two Islamic Jihad terrorists who were said to have been
involved in Monday´s attack. Ghalib Armilat was killed in the attack
and Mohammed Rashuan, 26, from Rafiah, was seriously injured.
According to Defense Ministry officials, the operation, which was
conducted with the help of the Israel Security Agency, targeted
Rashuan due to his membership in the Tawhid and Jihad organization
which has been responsible for attacks against Israeli citizens and
soldiers in the past several years and promotes a radical approach
based on the Global Islamic Jihad movement.
Rashuan was said to be responsible for the transport of weapons and
supply of explosive devices to terrorists in his organization, as
well as rocket launches against Israel, sniping at Israeli citizens
and soldiers in the south, mortar fire and the smuggling of
terrorists into and out of Gaza.
Another Israeli air strike in Gaza City killed a 14-year-old boy and
wounded his father, also a civilian, officials said.
The Israeli military confirmed the air strike, saying it had targeted
a squad firing rockets from a largely civilian-inhabited area in
Israel launched two more air strikes on Hamas security bases in Gaza
after darkness fell, lightly injuring two Palestinian boys aged 13
and 14, who sustained shrapnel wounds, medics said. Israel confirmed
these attacks as well.
In light of the rocket attacks throughout the week, parents of
schoolchildren were worried that the end of the school year on
Wednesday for middle and high schools meant their children would be
exposed to the rockets with no way to get to shelters on time. Many
buildings in the south are not equipped with bomb shelters or
Some universities and colleges in the area canceled graduation
ceremonies on Wednesday upon instructions from the IDF Homefront
Meanwhile, OC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Tal Russo ordered Route 12,
which runs along the Egyptian border, closed. An IDF spokesman said
Wednesday, "In accordance with an assessment of the situation and due
to security reasons, travel along Route 12 between the Sayarim
intersection and the Netifim checkpoint has been prohibited since
Wednesday. The order relates only to the road itself. The commander´s
order prohibits veering off the road into the area between the road
and the international border. Nahal Gishron is also off-limits to
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