Schools in areas of southern Israel that were in range of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip reopened Sunday morning after a weekend of relative quiet.
In announcements to residents, the mayors of Ashkelon and Netivot — as well as regional council heads — all said that classes would be resuming on time. The exception was Sderot, where classes began at 8:30 a.m., half an hour later than usual.
Children in parts of the south had to stay home starting Tuesday of last week as a flare-up between Israel and Islamic Jihad saw the terror group fire some 450 rockets into Israel. Tuesday also saw school called off in the area of Tel Aviv, which also came under attack, though briefly.
Israel and Islamic Jihad agreed to a ceasefire on Thursday morning, although there were four rocket attacks throughout the day Thursday and the IDF attacked Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza overnight in response.
On Friday schools remained closed in the Gaza periphery, and only at noon local councils announced a return to normal life.
The calm was punctured in the early hours of Saturday morning, when two rockets were fired toward Beersheba from the Gaza Strip in a fresh breach of the ceasefire. The rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
In response, the Israel Defense Forces carried out strikes on Hamas targets in the enclave, the army said in a statement.
Significantly, the army said it was targeting Hamas in the latest strikes after restricting itself to Islamic Jihad targets throughout the fighting earlier in the week.
Most of the rockets from Gaza either landed in open fields or were intercepted by Israeli air defenses. Some struck homes, businesses and streets, causing injuries and significant property damage. Dozens of people were also hurt as they fell running to bomb shelters.
Last week’s escalation began when an IDF targeted missile strike killed Baha Abu al-Ata, a commander in the Islamic Jihad terror group who Israel said was the “prime instigator” of terrorism from Gaza over the past year.
Palestinian sources said 34 Gazans were killed in the two days of conflict. Israel said 25 of the fatalities were terrorists; human rights officials said 16 civilians were among the dead.
Fifty-eight Israelis were lightly and moderately injured or treated for anxiety.