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Officials: Gaza Ceasefire Is Dead

Defense officials reportedly view Pillar of Cloud ceasefire as moot, as barrage of rockets closes non-reinforced schools in Ashdod.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 1/17/2014, 9:14 AM

Rocket fired from Gaza (archive)
Rocket fired from Gaza (archive)
Flash 90

A barrage of at least 6 rockets were fired from Gaza towards Ashkelon on Wednesday, leading the defense establishment to reportedly reconsider the Pillar of Cloud ceasefire. The barrage also led Ashdod to cancel classes Friday at all schools that are not reinforced against rocket fire.

Five of the rockets were shot down by the Iron Dome defense system Wednesday, with the rest landing in open areas. The IAF responded with airstrikes on various terror sites in Gaza on Thursday.

Gaza has fired 17 rockets at Israel so far in January, making the average one rocket a day this month, reports Galei Tzahal (IDF Radio).

The latest burst of rocket fire has led the defense establishment to realize the cease-fire with Hamas, brokered by Egypt and the US following Operation Pillar of Defense, is dissolving, reported Ma'ariv on Friday.

Deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, whose Muslim Brotherhood has ties to Hamas, is considered by the sources to have had more influence in keeping Hamas in check following the November 2012 counter-terror operation.

In contrast, the defense establishment noted that Defense Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who has cut illegal smuggling tunnels between the Sinai and Gaza in a siege of the Hamas stronghold, is proving unable to hold Hamas to its promises.

"The mechanism of enforcing agreements with Hamas has weakened exceedingly," revealed a senior source in Jerusalem. "Israel understands that ceasefire agreements can't be relied on as in the Morsi period, the agreements have lost their meaning."

In response to the rain of rocket fire, Ashdod closed schools as noted. The cancellation affected 3,500 students in the coastal city, out of a total 75,000 students.

While attacks from Gaza were down 98% one year after Operation Pillar of Cloud, the number has recently skyrocketed. A barrage of at least 6 rockets as occurred Wednesday reportedly hasn't happened for some time.

The IDF has warned Hamas that it is willing to step up its response as the terror organization escalates its attacks. Reports show Hamas has been stockpiling long-range rockets, indicating fierce fighting may be looming.