Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi / Flash 90
A woman and child in the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon take cover as a Red Alert rocket siren sounds a warning of an imminent rocket attack from Gaza. May 19, 2021.

Israel may be heading for a ceasefire deal with Hamas, according to a report posted late Wednesday night by Haaretz.

However, it is still likely the IDF will continue operating against Hamas and towards its objectives — to degrade the ability of the terrorist organization to attack Israel — for at least another 24 to 36 hours.

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Israeli security officials told Israel’s Channel 12 television news on Thursday night the assessment by top military officials is that the conflict taking place in Gaza is not likely to end before Friday. The assessment was shared at a meeting of the IDF top brass on Thursday, Channel 12 reported.

A White House readout of President Joe Biden’s fourth call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said “The two leaders had a detailed discussion on the state of events in Gaza, Israel’s progress in degrading the capabilities of Hamas and other terrorist elements, and ongoing diplomatic efforts by regional governments and the United States.

“The president conveyed to the prime minister that he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire,” the readout concluded.

In response, Netanyahu thanked Biden for his support of Israel’s right to self-defense, but said he was “determined to continue the campaign until it achieves its goal of bringing back peace and security to the citizens of Israel.”

The foreign ministers of Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are set to arrive in Israel on Thursday to show their solidarity and support for the Jewish State. Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias visited Israel earlier this week to show his solidarity with the people of the country. Next week additional foreign ministers and government officials are also expected to visit Israel to show their support.

The mother of one of the two IDF soldiers who were killed during a “humanitarian ceasefire” called by Hamas during the last conflict, Operation Protective Edge, told reporters today that she believes winning the current conflict “means bringing the boys back.” The bodies of the two soldiers were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists within seconds after they were killed.

Leah Goldin, whose son Hadar Goldin was one of the two soldiers (the other was Oron Shaul), said Israel must not agree to a ceasefire with Gaza this time around if the deal does not include the return of her son’s body and that of his fellow soldier.

For the time being, there was no security cabinet meeting on Wednesday, and it appears the IDF has not been ordered to “de-escalate.”

Late Wednesday night the IDF attacked two buildings serving as military infrastructure for the Hamas Naval Force. The two buildings were in separate parts of Gaza, one in the north and the other in the south.

Israel Air Force fighter jets and aircraft attacked a weapons storage facility located in the home of the Hamas “Justice Minister” in addition to attacking military infrastructure in the homes of other Hamas commanders.

In addition, IDF combat pilots struck a Hamas mortar launcher in the southern Gaza border city of Rafah, and an anti-tank compound in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shujaiya. The fighter pilots also attacked three rocket launchers in three separate cities — Beit Hanoun, Jabaliya and Nuseirat.

Late in the evening on Wednesday, a private home in the Negev city of Netivot sustained a direct hit by a rocket fired from Gaza. Miraculously, the projectile did not explode upon impact, and although the home was badly damaged, there were no physical injuries to the family or others.

A couple of hours earlier, however, a 65-year-old man was seriously wounded by blowback when a Hamas rocket struck his home in the southern border city of Sderot. In addition to the wounded man, several others suffered severe shock. All were treated by Magen David Adom medics prior to being evacuated to a hospital for further treatment.

During the same barrage, a young man living in another border community sustained moderate shrapnel wounds. He was evacuated to Be’er Sheva’s Soroka Medical Center in the central Negev.

Some 200 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza in the 12-hour period between 7 am and 7 pm Wednesday, the IDF said.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.