8 rockets fired at Israel’s south from Gaza Strip; Two homes in Sderot hit; Rocket fire follows IDF fire on Hamas post that killed two militants; IDF bolsters forces on border following threats from Hamas; Hamas finishes talks with Egypt, Qatar and UN on cease-fire agreement
Eight rockets were fired at southern Israel on Wednesday evening, the Iron Dome intercepting two of the rockets. Two of the rockets landed on two homes in Sderot and outside of a school playground. A man was also lightly injured from shrapnel.
The rocket attacks follow an IDF tank striking a Hamas post after members of the terrorist organization fired at Israeli civilians working on construction of the barrier fence. The IDF Spokespersons Unit confirmed “terrorists fired shots at civilians engaged in the construction of the barrier along the security fence near the northern Gaza Strip. An engineering vehicle was hit.” It added “In response, an IDF tank targeted a Hamas post in the northern Gaza Strip.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the IDF responded to gunfire from Hamas militants in northern Gaza on IDF forces and anti-tunnel equipment for the border fence. The IDF hit a Hamas post with tank fire, killing two militants.
Hamas confirmed the “martyrs” were part of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, warning Israel of “difficult consequences,” and claiming “Israel will not be able to sleep at night. Their attack will not pass without them paying a price.” It claimed it was carrying out a naval military exercise, the IDF releasing footage of the militants firing at Israeli soldiers.
The IDF then deployed additional forces to the Gaza Strip border, confirming to the public “In light of Hamas statements and the evacuation of Hamas outposts, the Southern Command decided to reinforce the Gaza Division and close several Israeli roads in the area surrounding the Gaza Strip for security reasons.”
The escalation in Gaza follows reports of a possible cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas by the end of August. A Hamas delegation and senior officials finished talks with representatives from Egypt, Qatar and the UN in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. A Hamas delegation will hold talk in Cairo with Egyptian officials, reports claiming they may announce a trial period for the cease-fire.
A senior official reported to Turkish media that the deal would involve the IDF lifting its restrictions on supplies shipments to Gaza through Israel’s border crossings in exchange for the return of the remains of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, held since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, as well as the release of Israeli citizens Avera Mengistu and Hisham Sayed.