Bombs stop raining over southern Israel in response to informal cease-fire

(JTA) – Sirens warning of rockets and mortars launched from Gaza stopped early Wednesday morning in southern Israel with an informal cease-fire agreement apparently reached.

The sirens had sounded throughout the night Tuesday and early Wednesday morning, sending area residents running for bomb shelters and safe rooms. No one was injured in the barrages of projectiles fired overnight at southern Israeli communities.

A private home in the southern city of Netivot was struck by a rocket fired overnight from Gaza, causing damage.

Some 200 rockets and mortar shells are believed to have been fired from Gaza at southern Israel by the Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad from Tuesday morning until 5:17 a.m. Wednesday. Code Red rocket alert sirens were triggered at least 166 times there during that time, according to the Israeli military.

Hamas on Wednesday morning announced that a cease-fire agreement had been reached, and no projectiles have been fired since the announcement of the informal cease-fire reportedly brokered by Egypt. The Israeli army said it would refrain from attacking Gaza as long as there is calm.

Earlier in the morning, the Israeli military struck 25 Hamas targets in Gaza in retaliation for the rocket barrage. Among the targets were rocket-propelled launchers, a factory for  rockets and rocket engines, advanced naval weapons, military compounds, training camps and sites for the manufacture of weapons, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. The strikes were in addition to the 35 targets attacked on Tuesday, including an extensive terror tunnel.

“The IDF is prepared for a variety of scenarios and is determined to act against the terrorist operatives and will continue to carry out its mission to protect the citizens of Israel,” the statement said.

The United States on Tuesday evening called for an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council over the firing of rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip. The meeting is expected to take place Wednesday.

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