ASHKELON, Israel – Rocket alert sirens sounded all across southern Israel at around 10 p.m. Wednesday night– two hours before the temporary 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was scheduled to expire– after a rocket was fired toward the coastal city of Ashkelon. The rocket landed in an open area in Hof Ashkelon. There are no reports of injuries at this time.
People in the coastal city of Ashkleon were caught off guard by the sudden re-occurrence of the sirens. “Azaka? Azaka?” one woman shouted fearfully. “Azaka” is the Hebrew term for the rocket siren. Patrons of a coffee shop rushed to the back of the store, as the establishment did not have a bomb shelter.
Hamas was quick to deny responsibility for the attack. Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Israel Radio that Hamas was not involved in firing the rocket.
According to the Times of Israel‘s Avi Issacharoff, Egyptian mediators in Cairo are attempting to broker a last-minute temporary extension of the ceasefire with both sides. The 72-hour ceasefire is scheduled to expire at midnight on Wednesday. Israel reportedly told AFP several hours before the rocket fire that it was prepared to extend the truce for another 72 hours.