By JNS and World Israel News Staff
Terrorists in the Gaza Strip on Sunday night fired heavy barrages of rockets at southern and central Israel, including at Tel Aviv, ahead of an Egypt-mediated ceasefire between the sides that was slated to come into effect at 11:30 p.m. local time.
Just eight minutes after the ceasefire took effect, Islamic Jihad terrorists fired more rockets at southern Israeli communities. Since then, the ceasefire seems to be holding as Israelis are experiencing much needed quiet.
According to several media reports, the Israeli government had agreed to an earlier Cairo-brokered truce at 8 p.m., but PIJ held up the deal over a demand that Egyptian officials work towards the release of two terrorists jailed in Israel.
For his part, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi was quoted by media as saying that his envoys have been engaged “around the clock” with a view to preventing the situation from spiraling out of control. Cairo has reportedly been working for the release of two Islamic Jihad prisoners, as demanded by the terrorist group.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday at 9:45 p.m. held a high-level security meeting at the military’s headquarters ahead of the expected end of the fighting.
Just after 11 p.m., the head of the National Public Diplomacy Directorate confirmed that a ceasefire will take effect Sunday night at 23:30.
“The State of Israel thanks Egypt for its efforts,” the announcement read.
“If the ceasefire is violated, the State of Israel maintains the right to respond strongly. We will not allow any disruption to the lives of the citizens of the State of Israel.”
The Israel Defense Forces’s “Operation Breaking Dawn” entered its third day on Sunday, as PIJ resumed firing rockets into the Jewish state. As of Sunday evening, terrorists from Gaza had fired some 1,000 projectiles towards Israel since hostilities broke out, according to the IDF.
The Iron Dome missile defense system successfully intercepted 96 percent of the projectiles that were headed for populated regions. About 160 of the rockets fell short in Gaza, killing at least nine people, said the IDF.
The military added that it had struck more than 140 assets belonging to PIJ in Gaza since launching “Operation Breaking Dawn” on Friday afternoon.
The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) director reportedly told members of the Security Cabinet on Saturday night that Jerusalem had already achieved most of its objectives in the operation.
Lapid reportedly echoed the sentiment on Sunday when he told leaders of communities located near the shared border with Gaza that the IDF’s “goals have been achieved, there’s no benefit in continuing the mission.”