A cease fire deal was reportedly reached Thursday in Cairo, according to international media, among them Reuters, the BBC and AFP — but both sides are denying the reports.
There is conflicting information about the deal and Israeli officials claimed the reports are “incorrect.” Likewise, Hamas also denied to international media that any deal had been reached.
According to the reports, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) represented Israel in the indirect negotiations with Hamas in Cairo. The cease fire is to take effect at 6 am Friday morning local time. If Hamas violates the truce, Israel warned it would retaliate immediately.
The Jewish State has yet to make good on such threats: two hours after the start of a humanitarian cease fire on Thursday, Hamas launched a barrage of mortar shells at southern Israel – and Israel did nothing in response.
Hamas terrorists were punctual in ending the humanitarian cease fire, which was scheduled to stop at 3 pm. A missile barrage was fired at the coastal city of Ashkelon and the community of Zikkim precisely at 2:59 pm local time. The rockets exploded in the Ashkelon coastal region, with impacts reported in open areas. No one was physically injured and no damage was reported.
The initial attack was quickly followed up by numerous others, most aimed at Ashkelon and at the Gaza Belt communities. A Grad missile was also launched at the Negev city of Be’er Sheva less than an hour after the “cease fire” had ended as well, exploding in an open area on the outskirts of the city.
Another rocket fell short, landed within the Gaza region. It is not known whether Arab civilians in the territory were wounded by the Hamas attack on their own people — and if so, whether women or children were killed in the explosion.