Hamas Rocket Fire Resumes as Ceasefire Ends
JERUSALEM, Israel -- Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists in the Gaza Strip shattered a three-day ceasefire Friday morning, firing more than 35 rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel since the temporary truce ended at 8:00 a.m.
Air raid sirens blared in communities throughout the south as residents scurried to bomb shelters.
At least two people sustained moderate shrapnel injuries, including a soldier. One rocket scored a direct hit on a home in Sderot, and several buildings were damaged in surrounding communities. The Iron Dome anti-missile battery intercepted four rockets, one targeting the coastal city of Ashkelon.
The Israel Defense Forces waited until nearly 11:00 a.m. before responding to the rocket fire, first with artillery and then targeted airstrikes on the terror infrastructure.
"The renewed rocket attacks by terrorists at Israel are unacceptable, intolerable and shortsighted. Hamas' bad decision to breach the ceasefire will be pursued by the IDF, we will continue to strike Hamas, its infrastructure, its operatives and restore security for the State of Israel," IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.
At a weekend "victory" rally in Gaza City, Hamas and Islamic Jihad vowed to continue its battle against the "occupation." Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for some of Friday's salvos.
The Israeli delegation to Egyptian-mediated ceasefire talks left Cairo this morning, Israel's Channel 2 reported.
Over the weekend, Hamas vowed not to extend the ceasefire past the 8:00 a.m. Friday deadline, while sources in the Palestinian Authority intimated the 72-hour ceasefire would be "unofficially" extended at least through the weekend.