Israel and terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip reportedly agreed to a cease-fire.
The agreement came late Sunday night and was followed by a Kassam rocket fired on Ashkelon and 10 mortar shells that hit southern Israel. Israel did not respond to the rockets, showing that the cease-fire was holding, according to reports.
Hours before the agreement, Israeli government ministers had ordered the army “to continue to act against those responsible for terrorism.”
The cease-fire follows a weekend in which more than 120 rockets were fired at Israel, including one that struck a school bus — seriously injuring a teen — and in which Israeli retaliatory strikes on terrorist sites killed 19 Gaza Palestinians.
“We will judge the other side over the next few days,” a senior Israeli official told Reuters. “The extent to which Hamas controls the other militant groups will affect the way we choose to act.”
A senior Palestinian source quoted in the international Arabic newspaper Al-Sharq al-Aswat said that Egypt is working to seal the current unwritten cease-fire and asked the United Nations envoy to the Middle East, Robert Serry, to help in negotiations
On Monday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman decried the cease-fire, telling Israel Radio that “Hamas is fighting a war of attrition against us. We won’t come to terms with a situation in which they decide when there’s quiet and when the area heats up.”
Lieberman accused Hamas of taking advantage of the recent months of relative quiet to smuggle in more and farther-reaching rockets.
Israeli military strikes on Gaza began April 7 after Hamas fired an anti-tank rocket at a school bus, critically injuring a teenage boy and the bus driver.