Sirens Sound in South, at Least One Rocket Strikes Israel
Sirens sounded in southern Israel after 9:00 p.m. and at least one rocket that was fired from Gaza exploded harmlessly in the Hof Ashkelon area. Sirens were reported in Hof Ashkelon, Lachish, and the Eshkol regions, as Hamas terrorists broke the truce with Israel more than two hours before it was scheduled to end.
A Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, said however that Hamas did not fire any rockets at Israel.
MK Motti Yogev (Jewish Home) said following the renewed fire from Gaza that Israel must “Hit Hamas with all our might, until it screams.”
MK Danny Danon (Likud) said: “Stop stuttering, eliminate the heads of Hamas.”
Thousands of IDF reservists were deployed to the Gaza front Wednesday, reported Israel Hayom, which said that the deployment is in preparation for a possible resumption of hostilities. In addition, reported the daily, hundreds of other reservists were told to prepare for possible deployment later tonight.
The IDF says the reservists deployed to Gaza Wednesday are simply replacing other troops who are going home.
Arutz Sheva has learned that many of the reservists who were sent home from Gaza are still on call and can be redeployed at short notice.
Arab sources gave contradictory reports on progress at the Cairo ceasefire talks in which Israel and Hamas are negotiating indirectly through Egyptian mediators.
The Israeli delegation to the talks flew home Wednesday evening. The Palestinian team is scheduled to hold a press conference at 9:30 p.m. local time.
Some Palestinian and Egyptian sources said Hamas had toughened its positions, apparently on the instructions of its kingpin Khaled Meshaal. Israeli sources said that the talks are “stuck” and estimated that Israel is preparing for a resumption of fighting.
The negotiations "are in a very sensitive stage and we hope to reach an agreement" before midnight, said Palestinian delegation head Azzam al-Ahmed.
Meanwhile, other reports, including a statement by a Hamas official in Gaza, said that the sides were close to finalizing a deal.
Israel apparently does not object to the transfer of funds for Hamas's “activists” through a third party, as suggested by Egypt. It is not opposed to an increase in the traffic of goods at the Kerem Shalom crossing, which it controls, and will not interfere in arrangements Egypt chooses to make at the Rafah crossing, which is under Egyptian control.
Mousa Abu Marzouk, Deputy Chairman of Hamas's Political Bureau, said on his Facebook page that negotiations were “proceeding positively” and that “the expectation is that an agreement will be reached by this evening.”
Other reports say that Israel agreed to gradually enlarge Gaza's fishing zone, to double the number of trucks carrying goods to Gaza through Kerem Shalom every day and to allow 5,000 Gazans to cross over to Judea and Samaria every month.
Mediators have proposed that talks on key Palestinian demands of a seaport and an airport in Gaza be delayed until a month after a permanent ceasefire takes effect, according to the Egyptian proposal contained in documents, the AFP news agency said.
Negotiations on proposals for the handover of the bodies of two slain Israeli soldiers held by Palestinian armed groups in exchange for the release of prisoners in Israeli jails would also be postponed, according to the document.
Under the proposal, the buffer zone along Gaza's border with Israel would be gradually reduced and guarded by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas's security teams, reported Al Jazeera.