Missiles hit Israel as gov't mulls ceasefire deal with Hamas

Sunday, February 08, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists fired a Grad-type missile at the southern Israel coastal city of Ashkelon on Sunday afternoon, as government ministers continued to mull the price of a 18-month ceasefire with the territory's Hamas rulers.

Earlier in the morning, before the ministers gathered in Jerusalem, another Palestinian rocket hit a small town in Israel's Negev region, destroying a number of cars and damaging several buildings. There were no injuries in either of the attacks.

At the weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert criticized his top ministers - who are gearing up for Tuesday's general election - for leaking overly optimistic reports regarding progress on a comprehensive truce deal with Hamas, including the release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

"I awoke this morning to a stream of media reports regarding Gilad Shalit. These reports did not come from me or from my office," said Olmert in remarks carried by Ha'aretz. "These publications are exaggerated and damaging and are absolutely unnecessary."

On Friday evening, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Channel One News that significant progress on an Egyptian-brokered agreement with Hamas had been made. On Sunday, one of Barak's top colleagues in the Labor Party, Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, added in remarks to Israel Radio that Shalit's return home was "closer than ever."

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