JERUSALEM (JTA) – A barrage of rockets was fired from Gaza at southern Israel after a cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian groups was broken.
The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted two of the rockets fired Tuesday evening. Earlier in the day, rockets were fired at Beersheba in violation of the 24-hour extension of a five-day cease-fire. The Israeli military retaliated with strikes on Gaza.
Southern Israeli communities returned to emergency procedures adopted prior to the cease-fire, and communities in southern and central Israel reopened public bomb shelters.
Israel recalled its delegation to the Cairo indirect truce negotiations following the new rocket fire.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum suggested earlier on Tuesday that more rocket fire on Israel was imminent, telling The Associated Press, “If Netanyahu doesn’t understand … the language of politics in Cairo, we know how to make him understand,” referring to Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Another Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, asserted that the organization was interested in an agreement but said that “Israeli attacks are meant to pressure the Palestinian envoy.” Zuhri said that Hamas was not aware of any rockets being fired from Gaza.
Israel’s economy minister, Naftali Bennett, said about the resumption of rocket attacks, “When you want to beat a terror organization, you defeat it. When you hold negotiations with a terror organization, you get more terror.
Bennett, who heads the Jewish Home party, called for a “harsh response” to Hamas.
“Sooner or later Israel will have to defeat Hamas, there’s no way to avoid it,” he said.