Hamas curtails launching rockets for 24 hours


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hamas has mostly stopped launching rockets at Israel for 24 hours at the request of Egypt, according to reports.

Three Kassam rockets were fired at Israel Monday afternoon and evening, considerably fewer than the more than 50 rockets and mortars that hit southern Israel over the weekend following the end of a six-month cease-fire. The 24 hours reportedly began Sunday night.

"Hamas and other factions agreed in order to give a chance to the Egyptian mediation and to show that the problem was always on the Israeli side," senior Hamas official Ayman Taha told Reuters. "If a new offer [for a truce] were made, which met our demands, then we would be willing to study it."

The demands include ceasing incursions into the Gaza Strip to destroy rocket launchers and to open border crossings.

Taha said if Israeli airstrikes in Gaza escalate, then the Palestinians would retaliate against Israel with more attacks, including suicide bombings.

Also Monday, Israel allowed humanitarian aid including flour, oil and medical supplies to be delivered by the Egyptian Red Crescent to the Gaza Strip after reaching an agreement with Egypt.

Meanwhile, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Gabriela Shalev, on Sunday night filed a letter of complaint with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council president over the barrage of rocket fire hitting Israel from Gaza.

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