Occupied Jerusalem - An unofficial cease-fire appeared to be holding Wednesday between the Israeli occupation regime and Hamas despite limited exchanges of fire.
Schools reopened in southern Israel and residents resumed their daily routines after a few overnight rocket attacks from Gaza that set off air-raid sirens, breaking a daylong lull. The Israeli occupation military struck back against additional Hamas targets but there were no reports of casualties on either side.
Both Israel and Hamas appeared ready to step back from the brink of a full-fledged confrontation. But violence could erupt again this weekend, when large-scale protests are expected along the Israel-Gaza frontier marking the anniversary of weekly rallies in which 200 Palestinians have been shot dead by the occupation regime.
The Israeli regime bolstered its forces along the Gaza frontier in advance.
Israel has launched three wars and dozens of skirmishes against Gaza since Hamas seized control of the strip in 2007. The latest round was triggered by a Gaza rocket fired early Monday that slammed into a house in central Israel and wounded seven people.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rushed back to Israel from a trip to Washington. Israel struck back hard and hit dozens of targets in Gaza, including the office of Hamas leader Esmail Haniyeh. Gaza’s Health Ministry said seven Palestinians were wounded in the air strikes.
Netanyahu faced the difficult task of delivering a tough blow to Hamas while avoiding protracted fighting that could work against him in next month’s national elections. He has come under heavy criticism from both allies and opponents for what they say has been a failure to contain Gaza fighters.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian was killed by Israeli occupation forces in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, the Palestinian health ministry said, adding he was working as a volunteer medic at the time.
The health ministry reported Sajid Muzher, 17, was killed in the Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem in the southern West Bank.
He was shot by regime forces while working as a volunteer medic, a health ministry spokesman told AFP.
In a statement, Palestinian health minister Jawad Awad said the “occupation’s killing of a volunteer medic by shooting him in the stomach is a war crime.”
Israeli occupation forces frequently enter refugee camps to carry out arrests or other operations, often sparking clashes with residents.