Mortar victim (illustration)
Mortar victim (illustration)Flash 90

As the Palestinian Authority (PA) claimed that Israel had agreed to a long-term ceasefire on Tuesday, Hamas wounded seven more Israelis with a rocket and mortar barrage on the south. One was wounded critically and shortly thereafter died of his wounds.

"Color red" rocket warning sirens began sounding in rapid succession at 5:50 p.m. in the Gaza Belt region, as well as Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Be'er Sheva.

The sirens preceded a heavy barrage of rockets and mortar shells, during which six people in the Eshkol Regional Council were wounded by a rocket that struck a community in the region. One was wounded critically, two others seriously, one moderately and the rest lightly.

Resuscitation attempts were conducted on the critically wounded victim, but he soon succumbed to his wounds and died. AFP cited an Israeli security source as saying he was killed by mortar fire, which likewise wounded the other victims.

Just last Friday four-year-old Daniel Tragerman hy''d was likewise murdered by mortar shrapnel in his Kibbutz Nahal Oz home.

The Tuesday barrage also targeted Ashdod, where several rockets were shot down by the Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system.

Tuesday has been a highly destructive day in Hamas's terror war on Israel, after an Ashkelon home suffered a direct hit in the early morning, sending 50 people to the hospital, 21 of them with light wounds and the rest suffering from shock.

Yuval Cohen, owner of the house that was struck, told AFP "we were in our bedroom when the alarm started. We ran to the children's room to wake them and while we were running with the kids, the rocket exploded in the bedroom. Luckily, we escaped by a miracle. We didn't even make it to the shelter."

An Ashdod kindergarten also suffered a direct hit later on Tuesday, making it the fourth strike on a school in six weeks, and the third on a playground in seven days.

Even as the rocket damage continues, a senior PA official told AFP that a "permanent" ceasefire in Gaza was reached with Israel, claiming the ceasefire will go into effect on Tuesday night.

There has been growing frustration at the collapse of security and lack of decisive action by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. A Channel 2 survey found on Monday that in just four days Netanyahu's approval rating dropped from 55% to 38%; at the time of the ground entry to Gaza earlier in the operation, that rating was as high as 82%.