Israel reports Gaza mortar attack

Jerusalem : The Israeli Army Wednesday reported that a Palestinian mortar shell was fired from Gaza into the southern Israeli area of Eshkol, but said there were no casualties nor damage.

A military spokesman told Efe news agency that it was “the first attack since the end of Operation Protective Edge”, referring to the Israeli offensive in Gaza over the summer.

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The spokesman did not link the mortar attack to the Hamas militias active in Gaza.

The projectile was fired Tuesday night at one of the border areas most affected during the Israeli military operation that resulted in the deaths of 2,100 Palestinians and 70 Israelis.

After 50 days of intense shelling and clashes, Israel and Gaza agreed to a ceasefire Aug 26 with Egypt acting as a mediator. Both parties are set to begin negotiations for lifting the Israeli blockade of Gaza within 30 days.

The attack coincided with the UN’s announcement of the agreement between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority on the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip that was left heavily damaged in the fighting.

The pact would allow urgent reconstruction work to be carried out in Gaza, while ensuring that the materials entering the area would not be used for other purposes, Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said.

The agreement “provides security assurances through UN monitoring that these materials will not be diverted from their entirely civilian purposes”, Serry said, alluding to Israel’s charge that Hamas has used building materials to construct tunnels to infiltrate Israel.

Serry said he hoped the agreement would be up and running as soon as possible and called it “an important step” toward the goal of ending the restrictions imposed by Israel as well as a “signal of hope for the people of Gaza”.