Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday broke a days-long ceasefire and resumed full-scale rocket fire on southern and central Israel.
By Wednesday morning, over 50 missiles had been fired at Israeli population centers. One scored a direct hit on a shopping mall in the port city of Ashkelon. Another was intercepted over Jerusalem, and at least one missile landed in an open urban area in Tel Aviv.
Despite considerable damage being caused, there were no injuries in the attacks.
Israel responded with aerial strikes against dozens of terrorist targets across the Gaza Strip. Local residents were reportedly once again fleeing their homes after having tentatively returned to some semblance of normal life amidst the now-shattered ceasefire.
Some 2,000 Israeli army reservists were called back into action to bolster the forces still deployed on the outskirts of Gaza, though Jerusalem is likely in no hurry to reenter the volatile coastal enclave with ground forces.
Israel also immediately withdrew its delegation from long-term truce talks in Cairo. The Netanyahu government insists it will not negotiate under fire.
The Obama Administration openly blamed Hamas for breaking the ceasefire and ruining the peace talks. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the breaching of the ceasefire, but tried to draw moral equivalence by not directly blaming Hamas, while at the same time reminding “both sides of their responsibility not to let the situation escalate.”
For its part, Hamas insisted that it had not violated the truce, despite the first shots being fired from Gaza. According to the terror group, Israel was to blame for the whole mess after stalling the Cairo talks by failing to accept Hamas’ extravagant demands.