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Hamas Chief Says Israel 'Got the Message' After Morning of Tense Calm

IDF strikes Rafah overnight ■ Iron Dome intercepts one rocket over the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon ■ Both sides signal willingness to refrain from flare-up, but are primed for renewed aggression

Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh, Gaza Strip, March 27, 2019.
Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh, Gaza Strip, March 27, 2019.

The Israeli military carried out a series of strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning after a rocket launched from the coastal enclave targeted southern Israel.

In the early morning on Wednesday, rocket sirens blasted in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon after renewed strikes by the Israeli army in Rafah. A rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.

Haaretz Weekly Episode 20Credit: Haaretz

The fire exchange came after a day of relative calm, following a serious flare-up that began on Monday. Seven people were wounded early Monday morning after a house north of Tel Aviv was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cut short his visit to Washington and return to Israel.

Wednesday, 7:41 P.M.

An Egyptian security delegation has arrived in Gaza through the Erez crossing and met with Hamas leaders. Meanwhile, the southern Israeli regional council of Eshkol reported hearing explosions across the border in Gaza.

An Israeli soldier walks in a field near the border with Gaza, in southern Israel March 26, 2019Credit: \ AMIR COHEN/ REUTERS

Wednesday, 5:36 P.M.

Sky News Arabia reports that the Egyptian security delegation will suggest a draft document to Hamas to establish a year-long calm with Israel.

Wednesday, 3:16 P.M.

Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh says the "Israeli occupation got the message," and congratulates all Gaza factions for "acting to stop Israeli arrogance." Haniyeh promises to rebuild his bureau, which was destroyed Monday evening in an Israeli airstrike.

Speaking outside his demolished office, he calls on the Palestinian people to come protest along the border fence on Saturday in honor of the one-year anniversary of the March of Return.

Wednesday 2:17 P.M.

The Israeli military is holding security assessments on the Gaza border.

Wednesday 2:15 P.M.

The Gaza committee organizing the protests along the border is calling for a general strike to be held Saturday and for mass mobilization near the border fence starting at 1 P.M. to mark the one-year anniversary of the March of Return

Palestinians sit with their belongings in a street outside their destroyed house after an Israeli missile targeted a nearby Hamas site, in Gaza City March 26, 2019. Credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Wednesday 07:32 A.M.

As Israel-Hamas ceasefire barely holds, next test fast approaches | Analysis

Wednesday 04:15 A.M.

A rocket is intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system over the industrial area of the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.

Wednesday 04:01 A.M.

IDF strike on Hamas' public security bureau in Gaza

Rocket sirens blare in the industrial area of the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, Israeli army says.

Wednesday, 03:08 A.M.

The Israeli army says it struck a number of targets inside a Hamas military compound in the area of Rafah in the southern Strip. The strike was launched in response to incendiary balloons and rockets fired earlier toward Israel from the Strip, the army says, adding that it holds Hamas accountable for any hostilities emanating from the Strip.

Tuesday, 11:51 P.M.

Israeli soldiers work near their tanks at a gathering area near the Israel-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Tuesday, March 26, 2019.Credit: AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

Israeli army says it identified one rocket launch from Gaza toward the industrial area of Ashkelon after sirens blared in the area.

Tuesday, 11:40 P.M.

Rocket sirens blare in the industrial area of the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.

Tuesday, 11:28 P.M.

The Israeli army attacks several targets in the southern Gaza Strip, the army's spokesperson's unit says. According to the military, among the targets struck was a Hamas military compound and a weapons manufacturing site in Khan Yunis.

The strike was launched in response to a rocket fired earlier toward Israel from the Strip, the army says, adding that it holds Hamas accountable for any hostilities emanating from the Strip.

Palestinians inspect their house that was damaged in a nearby Israeli air strike in Gaza City, March 26, 2019. Credit: \ MOHAMMED SALEM/ REUTERS

Tuesday, 11:05 P.M.

The Gaza-border Eshkol Regional Council tells its residents that the Israeli military started launching strikes on the Strip, warning that they will hear loud blasts. However, the council says schools will still be open Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, Palestinian reports say Israel struck near Khan Yunis' port.

Tuesday, 9:18 P.M.

Reports from Gaza say that a delegation of Egyptian mediators will arrive at the Strip Wednesday.

Tuesday, 9:16 P.M.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad deny responsibility for the rocket fired earlier Tuesday evening, claiming that it was an "individual act" and unconnected to either organization.

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On Monday night, Hamas and Islamic Jihad announced a cease-fire had been reached. Despite these reports, limited exchanges continued Monday night and throughout Tuesday. A senior Hamas official told Haaretz that Gaza factions are committed to the cease-fire.

Palestinian sources in Gaza said Tuesday morning that Israel's condition for a cease-fire is an end to all activities around the border fence, including the launching of incendiary balloons and the planned Friday protest, which marks the one year anniversary of the "March of Return."

House struck by Gaza rocket in Mishmeret on March 25, 2019. Credit: Meged Gozani

Israeli officials later denied that a cease-fire agreement had been reached

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East process, said Monday that the UN is "working intensely with Egypt and all sides" to reduce tensions, urging the Security Council on Tuesday to condemn the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Gaza's Hamas rulers toward Israel.

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