As rocket and mortar fire from the Gaza Strip continued to rain down on southern Israel on Wednesday, Hamas announced it was ready to stop the latest round of cross-border violence as long as Israel followed suit."Responding to the Egyptian efforts, we and the armed resistance announce our commitment to stop this round of confrontation as long as the occupation stops this aggression," said a written statement from Hamas's armed wing.
More than 55 rockets hit southern Israel on Wednesday as the IDF struck back at Hamas and Global Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip despite Egyptian calls for an immediate ceasefire.
One officer said that the involvement of Global Jihad operatives in attacks against Israel was not surprising but was concerning since the groups did not heed Hamas’s authority and would be difficult to rein in to abide by a new ceasefire.
Some of the groups are made up of former Islamic Jihad and Hamas members. Others, the officer said, come from Arabcountries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.In a sign that the violence was expected to continue on Thursday, the Home Front Command issued instructions to the public banning studies in schools that are not reinforced and are located within seven kilometers of the Gaza border. It also banned public gatherings – indoors or outdoors - of over 500 people. The instructions are in effect until Thursday evening.Meanwhile Wednesday, Palestinian terrorists fired more than 55 rockets into southern Israel throughout the day, damaging homes and sending eight civilians into shock. One rocket was intercepted by Iron Dome counter-rocket defense systems on its way to Netivot. The IDF said that its three operational Iron Dome batteries were deployed in the South.
Police bomb squad officials said 30 rockets slammed into the Negev region, while a further nine struck the Lachish region. More than 100 rockets have been fired into Israel since Monday.