Shelling From Gaza Amidst Premature Reports of Ceasefire

A rocket was fired at the western Negev Thursday morning amid premature reports that Gaza's terror groups had committed to a ceasefire.

Ezra HaLevi,

Kassam rocket
Kassam rocket
File photo
A Kassam rocket was fired from Gaza Thursday morning after news agencies announced that Gaza’s terror groups had re-committed to a ceasefire.

Foreign media sources such as Reuters and the Associated Press reported Thursday morning that groups had renewed their commitment to a ceasefire, but Army Radio reported the first-hand information conveyed by the Egyptian official, which seemed more like a threat.

Egyptian Maj.-Gen. Burhan Hammad said the terror groups told him that they would honor a ceasefire with Israel only if the IDF halts all counter-terrorist operation in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Earlier Thursday morning, IDF forces arrested 15 wanted PA Arabs throughout Judea and Samaria.

The Hamas-associated Popular Resistance Committee said it fired Thursday’s rocket at the western Negev and that no agreement to adhere to any truce exists. Lebanese newspaper Al-Mustaqbal also quoted a PA source saying that the terror groups have all rejected an Egyptian delegation's request for calm.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) agreed to a ceasefire in Gaza in late November. Since then, PA terrorist groups have fired more than 225 rockets at Israeli towns and cities in the southern region.

Despite the barrage of rockets and mortars fired by Hamas on Independence Day, Olmert says he will continue to act with restraint. He told a group of American Jewish UJA officials Wednesday that he believes that there is no better partner than Abbas and that a “new wind is blowing through the Arab world” that makes a peace agreement possible within the next five years.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman summed up the Olmert government’s stance toward the PA, saying “We will behave toward Hamas as though there were no Abu Mazen and talk to Abu Mazen as though there is no Hamas.”

Abbas’s office, meanwhile, issued a statement published by the PA-run Ma’an news agency saying recent IDF reports that extensive tunnel networks have been constructed along Gaza’s border with Israel and Egypt, as well as claims of massive weapons smuggling into Gaza - are false. Such reports, Abbas claimed, are aimed at “justifying aggressive Israeli actions.”