Despite ongoing fire, schools near Gaza border set to open Wednesday

Buses will receive increased protection, public services will operate normally; residents told to remain near bomb shelters

Israeli police officers guard a playground in a kibbutz near the Israel and Gaza border, Tuesday, May 29, 2018 (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
Israeli police officers guard a playground in a kibbutz near the Israel and Gaza border, Tuesday, May 29, 2018 (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Schools are set to open as normal in Israeli communities near Gaza on Wednesday, one of the area’s regional councils announced late Tuesday, after a day that saw massive barrages of rockets and mortar shells from the Strip, including one that landed near a kindergarten.

Other communities were expected to follow the Eshkol region’s lead in keeping schools open.

The decision came following discussions with security officials, the Eshkol Regional Council said in a statement.

It said school buses will operate as normal, “but with an increased presence of security forces.”

Residents were instructed to remain within close distance of a bomb shelter, in accordance with a directive from the IDF.

Farmers will be allowed in their fields as usual.

The Eshkol council said another situational assessment would be held at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, and that residents would be updated on any additional instructions.

The council’s instructions were in line with those of the military’s Home Front Command, which also encouraged residents to go to work as usual and said public services would continue as normal.

The announcement came even as sporadic projectile fire continued on Tuesday evening.

Dozens of rockets and mortar shells were launched at Israel from the Strip Tuesday, leading to retaliatory strikes by the air force on multiple terror targets in the territory. Hamas, the terror organization that rules Gaza, and Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for the barrages.

Four Israelis — three soldiers and a civilian — were wounded by shrapnel in the attacks. One soldier was moderately wounded, while the rest suffered light injuries.

One mortar shell hit a tree in the yard of a kindergarten shortly before children were due to arrive.

A man clear trees damaged by mortar shells fired from the Gaza Strip at a kindergarten in a kibbutz near the Israel-Gaza border, Tuesday, May 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Top Israeli ministers warned earlier that if attacks from the Strip did not stop, the situation could deteriorate into all-out war.

Israeli news reports said Egypt was attempting to mediate an end to the military escalation, and had urged Palestinian terror groups to halt their attacks on Israel.

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