Three rockets fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip broke the latest ceasefire on the 43rd day of Operation Protective Edge, leaving the future of truce talks in serious doubt.
The rockets struck in open areas near the cities of Be’ersheba and Netivot in the Negev, and landed without a rocket siren going off or without the Iron Dome anti-missile system attempting an interception. As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, no damages or injuries were reported in the strikes. Around 6:30 p.m., rocket sirens were reported in Netivot and in Gaza border communities.
Not long after the rockets were fired, the IDF announced that they would strike targets in the Gaza Strip in response. Gaza’s health officials said two children were injured in the air strikes that followed.
A Hamas spokesman said that the group did not fire the rockets and doesn’t know anything about any rockets having been fired from the Strip on Tuesday. By then Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered the Israeli delegation in Cairo for truce negotiations return to Israel, Israel Radio reported.
Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev noted that the rocket fire was the 11th time that Hamas had broken a ceasefire, calling it “a grave and direct violation of the ceasefire to which Hamas committed itself.”
In Cairo on Monday night, Palestinian and Israeli negotiating teams confirmed that they had agreed to extend the five-day truce by an additional 24 hours, which were set to come to an end Tuesday at midnight. Israeli media reported Hamas as saying that they would not extend the truce after midnight if an agreement was not reached with Israel on the terms of a ceasefire.
Despite the renewed rocket fire, as of 6:30 p.m. the IDF Home Front Command had not announced any updated safety instructions for people living in the south. That said, commuter train traffic between Ashkelon and Sderot was suspended for the second day in a row on Tuesday, due to fear of an anti-tank missile attack on the line.
The breakdown in the truce talks came the morning after the Shin Bet announced that they had arrested more than 90 Hamas members in May and June who they say were stockpiling arms and money in a bid to carry out a series of attacks on Israeli targets and overthrow the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
Nonetheless, AFP reported on Tuesday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans to travel to Doha in Qatar on Wednesday to discuss ceasefire talks with Khaled Meshaal, the head of the Hamas political wing.