Hamas ready for ceasefire ‘if Israel stops its aggression’


Hamas has said it will commit to a ceasefire after more than 100 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel in the past three days and eight Palestinians, including three teenagers, were killed in Israeli airstrikes.

In a statement on its website on Wednesday evening the Islamist organisation’s military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade, said it and other militant groups in Gaza were responding “to Egyptian efforts … to stop this round of confrontation as long as the occupation stops this aggression”. Egypt has played a key role in brokering earlier ceasefires.

Hamas had earlier announced its militants had fired rockets into Israel for the first time for more than a year. It has largely adhered to previous ceasefires because it is unwilling to provoke Israel into a major military confrontation.

The statement from the military wing warned that “the current confrontation with the enemy was kept to a minimal exchange of fire … and it is best that the Israeli leaders understand that. The resistance has taught Israel a valuable lesson and it should think long and hard before this kind of aggression towards Gaza happens again.”

There were unconfirmed reports of five rockets landing in Israel early Thursday morning. Schools in southern towns close to Gaza will be closed again, and residents remain on high alert. Four Israeli border policemen suffered light to moderate injuries on Tuesday when a rocket landed near them, but most of the missiles have landed on open ground.

A 14-year-old Palestinian boy, Momen al-Adam, was reported killed on Wednesday in an Israeli airstrike on a farm in Zeitoun in the north of Gaza. His father was wounded.

Israel also targeted two men it said were members of a “global jihad” organisation, the Tawhid and Jihad, which had played a “central role” in a cross-border attack from Egypt on Monday. Ghaleb Armilat was killed and Mohamed Rashdan was injured when their motorcycle was struck. The pair were “actively involved in planning another attack”, according to statement from the Israeli Defence Forces.

An Israeli-Arab construction worker was killed in Monday’s attack, and two militants were shot dead by Israeli soldiers.