A Palestinian Grad rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed near Beersheba (Southern district) on Thursday, August 9. No casualties or damages were reported, and no group immediately claimed responsibility for the rocket launch. Israeli and Hamas representatives have reportedly agreed to a truce on Thursday evening which is scheduled to take effect at 23:45 (local time).
Despite the ceasefire, further cross-border fire between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Palestinian fighters in Gaza is possible in the coming hours. Additional clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian fighters are possible over the Israel-Gaza border in the coming weeks.
The August 9 Grad rocket attack marks the first time that rocket sirens have sounded in Beersheba since the 2014 Gaza war. The attack comes after an intense exchange of fire between Israeli forces and Palestinian fighters in Gaza on the night of August 8 into the morning of August 9. Palestinian fighters reportedly fired more than 180 rockets and mortars at Israel, with the IDF targeting over 150 suspected Hamas positions in retaliatory airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. At least seven Israelis were wounded and three Palestinians were killed in the cross-border fighting.
This most recent escalation in the Israel-Hamas conflict comes after a senior Hamas representative said on August 8 that UN- and Egyptian-brokered negotiations between Israel and Hamas were in "advanced stages." The negotiations have reportedly been aimed at easing tensions along the Israel-Gaza border and avoiding an all-out confrontation between the sides.
In general, rocket fire and strikes between Israel and the Gaza Strip have intensified since early December 2017. Hundreds of rockets and mortars have been fired from the Gaza Strip, often followed by retaliatory Israeli airstrikes.
Individuals present in Israel and the Palestinian Territories are advised to monitor developments to the situation. Due to the underlying terrorist threat, travelers in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip are advised to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities. Some Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and areas near the Israeli-Lebanese, Israeli-Syrian, and Israeli-Egyptian borders.
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