Jerusalem, Mar. 15 – Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip violated an agreement reached earlier this week and fired anti-personnel rockets at Israeli cities Thursday, as mayors ordered schools closed in the face of incessant rocket attacks.
The agreement mediated by Egypt on Monday called for a halt in rocket fire and Israeli operations as of 1 a.m. on Tuesday, but since then terrorists in Gaza fired at least 13 rockets and five mortars at Israeli civilian targets. Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system shot down three rockets Thursday that were heading for populated areas of the city of Beersheba.
Although schools within 24 miles of Gaza had reopened Wednesday following four days of heavy rocket attacks, another attack on Beersheba Wednesday evening forced authorities to close them again, keeping 200,000 children home and disrupting life for the one million residents of the area.
Israel Radio reported shrapnel from one of the downed rockets intercepted late Thursday morning fell on a school in Beersheba, but caused no injuries as residents heeded air raid sirens and were off the streets at the time of the blast.
In response to Wednesday’s strikes, Israel Air Force jets attacked terrorist targets in Gaza away from populated areas and no Palestinians were injured.
Israelis living near Gaza have been targeted by more than 13,000 rockets and mortars since 2001, long before the Iran-backed Hamas terror organization seized power there in a bloody 2007 coup. Hamas leaders refuse to accept peace negotiations and maintain a policy of armed conflict to destroy Israel. Hamas has failed to control smaller terrorist groups that share their ideology and also fire at Israeli civilians.
A resident of Kibbutz Magen, three miles from the border with Gaza, told Israel Army Radio that despite the success of Iron Dome and other civil defense measures, the Palestinian rockets and mortars continue to be a deadly threat.
“There have already been explosions on one side of the kibbutz, behind the kibbutz and beyond the kibbutz – it’s just a matter of time before there is a disaster,” Itai Hayyam said.
Hamas and other terrorist groups refuse to sign ceasefire agreements, but instead only agree to lulls in the fighting, so their leaders are not seen as ever agreeing to stop armed attacks against Israel.
Despite saying that they were honoring various “lull” agreements, Gaza terrorists have fired 319 rockets and mortars at Israeli civilian targets since the start of the year.
During the latest escalation in the Israel-Gaza border region, the leader of the terrorist organization Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, met with a delegation of senior Hamas officials headed by the deputy chairman of the Hamas political bureau, Musa Abu Marzouk.
According to reports, the two terror organizations discussed the ties between them, agreeing to cooperate in any future terror attacks against Israel. The report also noted that the two leaders agreed to improve the relationship between Iran, their main sponsor, and the Muslim Brotherhood.