Cease-fire ends after mortars hit Israel

 

Terrorists in Gaza violated a five-hour cease-fire in the Middle East on Thursday by firing three mortars at Israel, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said.

“While we held our fire, Hamas terrorists fired 3 mortars that hit the Israeli community of Eshkol minutes ago,” the IDF tweeted.

Sirens sounded just before the mortar shells struck Israel just a few hours after the cease-fire began at 10 a.m. local time.

It's unclear whether Israel would retaliate. 

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Israel also said it foiled a terrorist attack Thursday in which 13 members of Hamas infiltrated Israel, allegedly planning to attack civilians living on an Israeli kibbutz. 

“We stopped them,” the IDF said, posting photos on Twitter of weapons the terrorists allegedly had with them and the tunnel they used to enter the country. 

Both Israel and Hamas said a day earlier that they would abide by a United Nations request for the humanitarian truce.

An Israeli Navy ship reportedly killed four Palestinian boys who were playing on a beach in Gaza Wednesday. Initial reports said Israeli officials were trying to target Hamas. The IDF said it would investigate the incident.

During a foreign policy statement from the White House Wednesday evening, President Obama urged both sides to reconsider the cease-fire proposal Egypt had offered just a day earlier.

"We are going to continue to encourage diplomatic efforts to restore the cease-fire, and we support Egypt’s continued efforts to bring this about," Obama said.  

"Over the next 24 hours we’ll continue to stay in close contact with our friends and parties in the region, and we will use all of our diplomatic resources and relationships to support efforts of closing a deal on a cease-fire."