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Gaza Groups Declare Truce; IDF Bombs Strip

April 8, 2011
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Earlier, a Palestinian source associated with Islamic Jihad said that the decision to declare a truce followed consultations with Arab officials around the world. Another source said the ceasefire announcement was a product of indirect negotiations with Israel.

However, at this time, it appears that the IDF is preparing to launch additional strikes in Gaza overnight and possibly throughout the weekend, military sources said. Officials said the army has known of Hamas’ plan to carry out a major attack but added that they were surprised that it was aimed at a school bus carrying children. Some Israeli officials estimated that Hamas originally sought a military target Thursday but could not find one, therefore choosing to fire a missile at a school bus.

However, the army is apparently not preparing for a second Operation Cast Lead that would include a major incursion into the Strip. Officials said that they wanted to avoid further escalation in the south that will disrupt the lives of residents.

Earlier Thursday, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, claimed responsibility for the attack on the school bus. The group said the strike was a response to the killing of three Hamas men over the weekend. Israel said the three were planning to abduct Israeli civilians.

In response to the terror attack, Air Force aircraft bombed targets in the Gaza Strip, hitting a terror cell responsible for rocket attacks on Ashkelon as well as another cell firing mortar shells. Five Palestinians were killed and 33 injured, according to medics in the Strip.

At least one of the rockets [from Gaza] was intercepted above Ashkelon by the newly installed Iron Dome system at around 6 pm. Army officials praised the system, saying it had made history with its first-ever interception.

Posted on April 8, 2011

Source: (By Elior Levy, Hanan Greenberg contributed, Ynetnews, April 8, 2011)

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