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Palestinian Official Announces Imminent Cease-fire; Rocket Strikes Ashkelon House, Injuring 28
Egypt announced a new cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian groups shortly after an Israeli struck by a Gaza mortar died of his wounds.
The official Egyptian News Agency announced Tuesday evening that the cease-fire would begin at 7 p.m.
In the hour leading up to the announced cease-fire, dozens of mortars and rockets were fired at southern Israel. One Israeli was killed and at least two more were seriously injured in the Eshkol region.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in a televised speech at the start of a leadership meeting in Ramallah, said, “We announce the Palestinian leadership’s agreement to Egypt’s call for a comprehensive and lasting truce beginning at 7 p.m. today.”
Israeli Cabinet ministers reportedly were informed earlier in the evening that the cease-fire proposal had been accepted. The proposal did not require a Cabinet vote.
According to reports, the open-ended cease-fire would see the immediate opening of border crossings from Gaza into Israel and Egypt, and the expansion of Gaza’s fishing zone.
The second phase would begin in a month, with discussion of the construction of a Gaza seaport and the Israeli release of Hamas prisoners.
The news comes as the conflict entered its 50th day and the Israel Defense Forces announced that a rocket fired from Gaza landed near a kindergarten in Ashdod.
The IDF also confirmed that it had struck several terror targets in the northern Gaza Strip, and said two terrorist had been killed in the attacks.
A rocket fired from Gaza struck a home in Ashkelon and injured 28 while damaging about 50 neighboring apartments.
The family living in the home was running to a safe room when the rocket struck early Tuesday morning; they were not injured. The rocket left a large hole in the roof and destroyed two rooms.
Israeli security forces said later that the warhead was exceptionally large and could be a new type of rocket, perhaps intended to travel longer distances, the Times of Israel reported.
Also Tuesday morning, the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted a rocket over Tel Aviv. The armed wing of Hamas claimed responsibility, saying it fired long-range rockets at Tel Aviv and Haifa in response to attacks on several buildings in Gaza overnight.
Israeli military aircraft fired on two residential towers in Gaza City early Tuesday morning, destroying the buildings. The IDF said they served as Hamas command and control centers.
The 16-story Little Italy complex, which also contained a commercial area, collapsed, as did the 14-story al-Basha building, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported.
Residents fled the buildings prior to the airstrikes after receiving phone calls with recorded warning messages from the Israeli military, according to Maan.
The Israel Air Force also attacked a boys’ school in Gaza City from where the Israeli military said the mortar that killed 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman was launched, The Associated Press reported. The displaced Palestinians sheltering in the school were warned to evacuate before the attack.