Emergency rules not renewed in Israel’s south following ceasefire

(JTA) – Following a brief calm in exchanges of fire between Israel and Gaza militants, towns near the border with the Palestinian enclave resumed normal services.

The municipalities of Netivot, Sderot and smaller towns near the Gaza Strip on Friday did not renew emergency regulations that had been in place for most the past week. The regulations prevented holding any gatherings outside sheltered areas, including summer camp activities, as well as public transportation.

The resumption of activity – including by the Ashkelon-Sderot line of the Israel Railways – followed the coming into effect of a de-facto ceasefire on Thursday night, the Israel Broadcasting Corp. reported.

More than 150 rockets have hit southern Israel over the past week, in one of the most violent exchanges with Hamas militants since Israel launched a massive military operation in 2014 against the terrorist group over its firing of rockets into Israeli towns.

The Israel Air Force has struck more than 150 targets across the Gaza Strip, including military training camps, weapons caches and terrorists. Several people have died in the strikes, according to Hamas. On the Israeli side, several people were injured, sustaining light to moderate injuries.

The ceasefire with Hamas was reached with Egyptian mediation, according to the Al Jazeera. An Israeli official denied that Israel had engaged in any talks on a ceasefire, telling the Broadcasting Corp. that Israel has a longstanding policy of striking in Gaza only in retaliation to strikes on Israel.

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