Palestinians claim ceasefire after shooting dozens of rockets, sweeping Israel response

The Home Front Wednesday morning, May 3, lifted the emergency precautions in force at locations bordering the Gaza Strip after they sustained a day and a night of heavy Palestinian rocket and mortar fire on Tuesday. Targeted regions were told to reopen schools and businesses under furious protest. Overnight, after an IDF counterattack, the Palestinians launched their second barrage, this time damaging a home as far as Ashkelon. IDF fighter jets thereupon hit a Hamas’ operations network in the Gaza Strip, including a training compound, an arms depot, a central weapons manufacturing plant, a naval base, a cement factory and an underground tunnel in the south. The IDF customary holds Hamas, as rulers of the Gaza Strip, responsible for aggression emanating from that enclave, regardless of any other factions’ claims. This time, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad stated that the day and night of rocket fire was in revenge for the death of one of their leaders in Israeli custody after a three-month hunger strike.

Altogether, salvos of 104 Palestinian rockets were counted during the attack: 11 dropped into the sea, 14 fell short inside Gaza and 48 landed harmlessly on empty ground. Altogether, 24 were intercepted by Iron Dome batteries.

The first rounds of rocket fire during Tuesday injured three people and damaged two buildings in Sderot. The attack on Ashkelon caused damage to a home and several parked vehicles. Overnight, the Palestinians claimed a ceasefire had been reached as of 3:30 a.m. with the help of Egypt, Qatar and the UN – although it was not confirmed by Israel. Nevertheless, at 5:30 a.m. sirens blared at Kibbutz Nir Am just across the Gaza border.

Early Wednesday, the IDF Home Command lifted the emergency in force since Tuesday morning at the towns and villages bordering the Gaza Strip, in the face of furious protests from perennially targeted civilian communities and sharp criticism from within the government coalition. The government and IDF were accused of a light hand against Palestinian aggression, thereby providing a recipe for the next attack whenever the Palestinian terrorists felt like it.  Schools were reopened and students sitting for matric exams were awarded an extra 25pc time and an optional alternative date.

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