Israel, however, said at least four rockets were fired at its territory from Gaza — an attack that broke the seven-hour ceasefire called by Israel to allow humanitarian aid into the Gaza strip.
The truce was set to begin Monday morning. From Reuters:
An Israeli defense official said the ceasefire, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (0700 to 1400 GMT), would apply everywhere but areas of the southern town of Rafah where ground forces have intensified assaults after three soldiers died in a Hamas ambush there on Friday.
“If the truce is breached, the military will return fire during the declared duration of the truce,” the official said. The official said east Rafah was the only Gaza urban area in which troops and tanks were still present, having been withdrawn or redeployed near the border with Israel over the weekend.
Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told CNN that Israel’s goal with the truce was “to assist with the humanitarian relief” of the people of Gaza.
The latest shelling comes just hours after a rare statement from the U.S. State Department that condemned the Israeli shelling of a U.N. school, which killed 10.
“The United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons, in which ten more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed,” reads the statement from State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki. “We once again stress that Israel do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties.”
Psaki continues: “UN facilities, especially those sheltering civilians, must be protected, and must not be used as bases from which to launch attacks. The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians.”
We’ll keep you updated with the latest.