The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office on Monday denied reports of a temporary ceasefire in the southern Gaza Strip to allow for humanitarian aid to enter the Hamas-ruled enclave.
According to media reports, however, a ceasefire went into effect, along with the opening of the Rafah Crossing between Gaza and Egypt, at 9 a.m. on Monday to allow foreigners to leave and goods to enter the Strip.
Reuters, citing two Egyptian security officials, said that Israel, Egypt and the United States had agreed to the ceasefire, which would last “for several hours,” with the Rafah Crossing remaining open until 5 p.m.
Hamas commander killed
The Israeli military announced on Monday, the 10th day of Israel’s “Operation Swords of Iron” against terrorist groups in Gaza, that Muetaz Eid, commander of the Hamas Southern District of National Security, had been killed.
Over the past 24 hours, dozens of military headquarters and observation posts, and several Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket-launching positions, were also destroyed, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
Sirens sounded in Kibbutz Be’eri at 9 a.m., the same time the ceasefire supposedly took effect. The rocket alert came after an overnight lull in launches from the Gaza Strip. According to the IDF, Hamas terrorists have fired more than 6,600 rockets at Israel since the start of the war on Oct. 7.
In the 24 hours before the reported ceasefire, the IDF attacked targets in the north and center of the Gaza Strip with aircraft and artillery. Some 250 military targets were struck, mostly in the northern area of the coastal enclave, according to the military.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces continued to deploy on the Gaza border in apparent preparation for a major ground invasion. Israel’s declared goal in the war is the elimination of Hamas as a political and military organization.
Hezbollah kills IDF soldier
The IDF on Monday identified the Israeli soldier killed by Hezbollah a day earlier as Lt. Amitayi Zvi Granot, 24.
Granot was killed by an anti-tank missile fired at the IDF’s Nurit border post. A total of 292 IDF soldiers have been killed since the start of “Operation Swords of Iron.”
Separately on Sunday, an Arab Israeli construction worker was killed by a Hezbollah anti-tank missile strike on the northern Israeli town of Shtula.
Hezbollah claimed responsibility for both of Sunday’s attacks. In response, the IDF announced that it was striking terrorist targets in Lebanon.
Border communities evacuated
The Israeli Defense Ministry and the IDF on Monday announced the evacuation of residents within 2 kilometers of the Lebanese border to state-funded guesthouses mostly in Eilat and at the Dead Sea.
The initiative, approved by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, will be implemented by the heads of the local municipalities, the Interior Ministry and the Defense Ministry’s National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA).
On Sunday, voluntary evacuations of Sderot near the Gaza border continued, and the IDF declared the area within 4 kilometers of the Lebanese border a closed military zone, ordering persons residing within 2 kilometers of the border to remain close to bomb shelters.
The 28 communities included in the northern evacuation plan are Adamit, Arab al-Aramshe, Avivim, Bara’m, Betzet, Dafna, Dishon, Dovev, Ghajar, Hanita, Kfar Giladi, Kfar Yuval, Ma’ayan Baruch, Malkia, Manara, Margaliot, Matat, Metula, Misgav Am, Netu’a, Rosh Hanikra, Shlomi, Shomera, Shtula, Ya’ara, Yiftach, Yir’on and Zari’t.
Hamas death toll
These include “Nukhba” forces commander Ali Qadi, who led the terror rampage in which 1,400 people were murdered, more than 3,500 wounded and at least 199 taken captive.
Other Hamas commanders killed are Zachariah Abu Ma’amar, head of international relations in Hamas’s political bureau; Joad Abu Shmalah, Hamas “minister of economy”; Belal Alqrada, Nukhba commander for southern Khan Younis; and Merad Abu Merad, head of the Hamas aerial array in Gaza City.