TEL AVIV – Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire deal Tuesday evening, Arab media reported, after nearly 500 rockets and mortars pounded the Jewish state over the course of 24 hours.
A senior Israeli official seemed to confirm the report, and said the agreement came at the behest of Hamas from “four different mediators.”
Israel will accept the terms of the deal so long as the hostilities from Hamas and other Gaza-based terror groups stop, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
The ceasefire comes on the heels of a seven-hour meeting of Israel’s security cabinet comprised of top defense officials including the IDF chief of staff and the heads of military intelligence, the Shin Bet, the Mossad, and the NSC — all of whom supported the Egyptian request for a ceasefire.
“The Cabinet was briefed by the IDF and security officials about the attacks and the extent of operations against the terrorists in Gaza. The Security Cabinet instructed the IDF to continue its operations as necessary,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office read.
However, four ministers said they were opposed to the ceasefire.
The news of a ceasefire also sparked protests in the southern border town of Sderot, with demonstrators burning tires.
בצומת שדרות החלה מחאה של תושבי העיר. הם סגרו את צומת ניר עם והחלו להבעיר צמיגים. (קרדיט צילום נועם אמיר) pic.twitter.com/Ex0tfFtzY3
— 🇱 נועם אמיר (@noamamir74) November 13, 2018
Danny Berman, a Sderot resident, told the Hebrew-language Ynet: “We have had enough of the government’s helplessness, and at last there was an opportunity to try to solve the problems by military means once and for all.”
Rita Calpe, another resident of Sderot, said: “I came [out to protest] because I’m fed up with it, we cannot go on like this. I wish that there would be one big military operation that would end the rockets from these terrorists.”
According to Palestinian media, Egypt asked Hamas and other Gaza-based terror groups to stop the hostilities at 3:30 p.m. However, a fresh barrage of rockets was launched shortly thereafter, with a direct hit on a home in Hof Ashkelon that caused extensive damage but no injuries.
Seven Palestinians have been killed by Israeli operations in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. Israel has seen 39 injuries and one person killed by direct rocket fire.
More than 150 military targets were destroyed by Israeli jets.
Some 210,000 Israeli children from the south did not attend school on Tuesday, and businesses and government offices remained closed, with people instructed to stay close to bomb shelters.
The Israeli army struck a number of “key strategic targets,” including Hamas’s security headquarters and the terror group’s Al-Aqsa television station, which was used to encourage terrorist activities. Hamas accused Israel of violating international law by raiding the TV station.
More than 150 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system and the majority of the rest landed in open fields. Several dozen landed inside cities and communities, some directly hitting homes in the southern towns of Ashkelon, Netivot and Sderot.
“The Iron Dome so far has been phenomenal, but even the Iron Dome is not hermetic and we cannot expect it to intercept everything, especially when it’s dealing with this amount of rockets,” Conricus said.
A man was killed in Ashkelon by a rocket that hit a building. He was identified as Mahmoud Abu Asbah, a 48-year-old Palestinian man from the Hebron area in the West Bank who had a legal permit to work in Israel. He left behind a wife and six children.