Topsy-turvy Hamas suddenly announced Sunday afternoon that it wants a 24-hour ceasefire for the Muslim holiday celebrating the last days of the holy month beginning Sunday, but Israel rejected it after terrorists continued launching rockets at Israel the same time.
Israel said its response to the call for a short ceasefire would be based on Hamas’s action and not its words. Since the ceasefire was supposed to in effect at 1 p.m. (7 a.m. EDT), Hamas fired a volley or rockets at Gaza Belt communities. Later in the day, it unleashed a volley missiles on Be’er Sheva, Kiryat Gat and all points in between.
The Iron Dome intercepted several rockets, but one of those headed for a rural farm area hit a house in a kibbutz, and one woman suffered light to moderate injuries. Although most rockets have exploded in open areas, approximately 750 homes and 1,000 cars have sustained damage since the wear started 20 days ago.
Hamas organization previously rejected an extension of the humanitarian truce and launched rockets and missiles on Israel, as far north as Tel Aviv, despite Israel’s continuation of the ceasefire.
The IDF reacted swiftly and strongly to the renewal of attacks, but Hamas said it was motivated in consideration of the Muslim three-day Eid al-Fitr feast ending Ramadan. It also is motivated by wanting to prove that it and not Israel determines if and when there will be a ceasefire.
Robert Serry, the United Nations representative in the Middle East, said the ceasefire will “give some quiet” to Israeli and Gaza civilians. It also will give Hamas a chance to reorganize its devastated army.
In the brief IDF offensive Sunday morning after Hamas attacked, aerial bombings of Gaza killed an Islamic Jihad commander in central Gaza.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri previously has rejected any longer truce unless Israel withdraws all its soldiers from Gaza, an unlikely event given Hamas’s long history of breaking ceasefires.
Israel accepted the humanitarian ceasefire on condition that soldiers remained in Gaza to search for and destroy tunnels used by Hamas to carry out attacks Israelis inside Israel.