Ahead of truce that was supposed to be in effect at 8pm, Gaza militants intensify fire, targeting center of the country, while IDF strikes rocket launching cells in Gaza; Lapid says Israeli offensive objectives met and operation winding down

The Islamic Jihad fired over 50 rockets on Sunday evening, including toward Tel Aviv, in a salvo that came just minutes before a ceasefire was set to take effect at 8pm.

Sirens also blared in Holon, Bat Yam, and Rishon Lezion. Residents in communities near the Gaza border were instructed to stay in bomb shelters until further notice. The Iron Dome missile defense system was activated and no injuries were reported. An interception was also recorded above Ben Gurion Airport.

ירי רקטות מעזה
Rockets launched from Gaza (Photo: AFP)


One person was lightly hurt when a rocket fell near a factory in Ashkelon, while another projectile hit a home in Sderot, but no injuries were reported.

Palestinians, meanwhile, said that a number of people were killed in an IDF strike on a vehicle the Gaza City and at least five people died in a strike in Jaljulia. The Israeli military, however, said the deaths in Jaljulia were caused by an errant rocket fired by Islamic Jihad, similarly to the incident that occurred a day earlier.

The IDF said it was bracing for extensive fire from Gaza to continue up until the ceasefire, expecting the Islamist group to attempt to cause the maximum amount of damage while they still can.

יירוטים בשמי אשקלון
Iron Dome intercepts rockets over Ashkelon (Photo: Reuters)


Foreign media reports said the truce, negotiated by Egypt, had the approval of the Gaza ruling Hamas group and Israel and was supposed to go into effect at 8am. The rocket fire, however, continued way past the dedicated hour.

According to reports in Arab media, Israel rejected a demand of the PIJ to release its operatives arrested during West Bank raids in recent months.

The Al Jazeera Network said Egypt will commit to continue attempts to bring about the release of two Islamic Jihad operatives, including Khalil Awawdeh, who has been held under administrative detention and has been on hunger strike for the past months.

ביקורם של ראש הממשלה יאיר לפיד ושרת הכלכלה אורנה ברביבאי בשדרות
Yair Lapid meets mayors in the south on Sunday (Photo: GPO)


The truce negotiated will reportedly see the Kerem Shalom and Erez border passages opened and fuel delivered to the Gaza power plant, which was forced to suspend services.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Yair Lapid told mayors of southern communities that the objectives of Israel’s offensive in Gaza were met and that the military operation was winding down.

Lapid visited the Gaza border area with Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

As reported by Ynetnews