An intense exchange of fire has been reported over the Israeli-Gazan border on Monday evening (local time), March 25, after a rocket launched from Gaza hit a home in Mishmeret (Central district) on Monday morning, wounding seven people. Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have launched an offensive on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, including launching an airstrike which destroyed the office of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh; at least five Palestinians have been wounded in the offensive. The IDF has also sent two additional brigades to augment its Gaza division amid the escalation. A house in Sderot has been damaged as additional rockets were fired from Gaza, with no casualties immediately reported. Rocket sirens also blared across Sha'ar HaNegev regional council and Eshkol regional council.
Major Israeli cities, notably including Tel Aviv and Beersheba, have opened bomb shelters for residents in preparation for an armed Gazan response to the Israeli strikes. Train service from Ashkelon to Sderot has been suspended amid the heightened cross-border tensions, with the Ofakim, Netivot, and Sderot stations closed until further notice.
An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire has reportedly been reached between Israel and Gazan militant groups, effective from 22:00 on Monday. Further cross-border exchanges of fire are nonetheless possible over the coming hours.
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 and seek immediate shelter in the event of a rocket attack.
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.
Copyright and Disclaimer