Approximately 700 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza by Palestinian Islamic Jihad backed by Iran and Hamas since the attack began Saturday morning. Channel 12 reported that 173 were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile protection system. Four Israelis were killed by rockets and at least ten others were treated for shrapnel wounds. Dozens more were treated for shell-shock.
29 Gazans were killed in IDF strikes, many of them declared as terrorists by Gazan sources.
Israel responded by hitting approximately 320 military targets in Gaza. The two crossings connecting Israel and Gaza were closed in the wake of the attacks and the IDF shut down fishing rights off the coast of Gaza. The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced that all fuel imports to Gaza would be stopped effective immediately.
Around midnight, the terrorist groups released a statement emphasizing that the rocket attacks would continue until the Israeli government gave in to all their demands.
The battle will not end until the occupation responds affirmatively to our people’s demands,” the Joint Command Center of Armed Palestinian factions in Gaza said in a statement in the early hours of Monday. “We will not allow the settlers [Israelis] to leave their shelters as long as the enemy’s leadership denies its understandings with the resistance.”
One of the demands is that Israel allow the transfer of $30 million from Qatar to Gaza for the Ramadan period which began on Sunday. Qatar has been accused of allowing terror financiers to operate within its borders and a state sponsor of Hamas which is classified as a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department since 2010.
Gazan officials declared a ceasefire that supposedly took effect at 4;30 am local time. The Israeli government refused to confirm the reported truce but the IDF declared all security restrictions that had been enacted in southern Israel since the attack began would be lifted beginning at 7 am on Monday. Israeli schools opened for the first time this week in some areas in the south though schools in other regions closer to the border remain closed. It is unclear whether the restrictions placed on Gaza will remain in place.
An Egyptian official also confirmed the deal to AFP on condition of anonymity.
No rockets have been reported as of 2:00 am on Monday.
Abu Mujahed, the spokesman for the Palestinian Resistance Committees, a coalition of various terrorist groups in Gaza, confirmed that the ceasefire went into effect. “The ceasefire agreement was reached on condition that the occupation implements the previous understandings to lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip,” he said in a statement.
Likud MK Gideon Saar slammed the Israeli acceptance of a Hamas-declared ceasefire.
“The ceasefire, in the circumstances it was reached under, has no gains for Israel,” said Saar. “The time between each round of violent attacks against Israel and its citizens is shrinking, and terror organizations in Gaza are strengthening. The fighting hasn’t been ended, just pushed off.”