Hamas’s Izzadin Al-Qassam Brigades targeted a bus that had been carrying Israeli soldiers north of the Gaza Strip with an anti-tank missile and subsequently launched a barrage of mortar shells towards the site where the bus allegedly was targeted on Thursday morning.
The IDF reported that the bus was empty and one soldier was lightly injured in the incident.The report came after rocket sirens sounded in southern Israel after a more than eight hour period in which no rocket sirens were sounded.
The attack also comes amid reports in Israeli and international media claiming that a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza could be reached by Friday, despite a number of statements by officials from Hamas and Israel saying that a ceasefire was not going to be reached soon.
After the attack, residents of communities within four kilometers of the Gaza border were ordered to stay in their homes near shelters and residents of Netiv Ha’Asara were ordered to stay in shelters until further notice.
Last week, IDF soldier St.-Sgt. Omer Tabib was killed and three others were wounded after a Kornet anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) was fired by Hamas terrorists towards their jeep near the southern Israeli community of Netiv Ha’Asara.
In November 2018, a round of fighting between Hamas and Israel broke out after a Cornet anti-tank missile was fired toward a bus full of soldiers at the Black Arrow Memorial Site in the Sha’ar Hanegev region. A soldier was critically injured in the 2018 attack. More than 460 rockets were fired towards southern Israel after that attack.
The IDF continued to strike targets in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, conducting a wave of strikes against Hamas’s underground infrastructure in the Gaza Strip overnight and targeting two weapons warehouses on Thursday morning. Later in the morning, the IDF struck a rocket launcher and prevent rockets from being launched towards Israel.
The IAF targeted a tunnel used by Hamas and two underground rocket launchers that were used to fire rockets at Tel Aviv in the past week, on Thursday morning. The IAF additionally hit a Hamas war room which, among other things, conducted combat during the current round of fighting.
About 70 rockets were fired towards Israel between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., according to the IDF, with 10 rockets falling within the Gaza Strip and 90% of the rockets fired into Israel intercepted by the IDF. From 1 a.m. until 9 a.m., no rocket sirens sounded in Israel.
The Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), took responsibility for the rocket fire that broke the relative calm on Thursday morning.
A number of Hamas officials and activists were arrested by Israeli security forces in the West Bank on Wednesday night, according to Palestinian media. One of the officials reportedly arrested was Nayef Rajoub, a senior Hamas official, who was arrested at his home in Dura.
Over 4,000 rockets have been fired into Israel since Operation Guardian of the Walls began 11 days ago. Some 11 civilians and one IDF soldier in Israel have been killed and hundreds have been injured. According to Palestinian media, over 227 Palestinians have been killed and over 1,500 have been injured in the fighting.