JERUSALEM (AA) – Israel’s cabinet on Wednesday denied the existence of an Egypt-brokered cease-fire between Israel and Gaza-based Palestinian resistance factions.
In an interview with Israeli radio, Intelligence Minister Israel Katz denied reports that a cease-fire had been reached, saying merely: “Everything now depends on Hamas.”
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, a member of Israel’s security cabinet, for his part, said: “We haven’t reached any agreement with Hamas — not even an informal agreement.”
He added: “We will act according to our interests; Hamas’s actions will determine its fate.”
Israel’s broadcasting authority, meanwhile, quoted a “senior political source” as saying: “Israel will not open fire but will firmly retaliate to any aggression.”
Israel’s Channel 10 quoted another unnamed Israeli official as saying: “Israel has delivered a clear message to Hamas that, if the rockets from Gaza continue, we will intensify our raids on Hamas and other organizations [in Gaza].”
“The cease-fire has ended,” he added. “The situation is now in the hands of Hamas.”
Tensions mounted on Tuesday after Israeli warplanes struck resistance positions in Gaza in ostensible response to a volley of rockets fired at Israel from the blockaded coastal enclave.
The rocket barrages came one day after four Palestinians were killed in Gaza by Israeli airstrikes.
Tension has mounted in the Palestinian territories since last December, when U.S. President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
On May 14, the U.S. relocated its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, drawing condemnation from across the Arab and Muslim world and further enflaming passions in the Palestinian territories.
Since Mar. 30, at least 118 Palestinians have been killed — and thousands more injured — by Israeli army gunfire in the eastern Gaza Strip.