According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Palestinian militants in Gaza violated the established ceasefire agreement within 15 minutes. The IDF reported they intercepted a rocket aimed at southern Israel.
"Rocket sirens sounded in the evacuated southern Israeli towns of Kissufim and Ein HaShlosha early on Friday morning, shortly after a four-day ceasefire came into effect that will allow a prisoner exchange and the delivery of humanitarian aid into the besieged and devastated Gaza Strip,” reported Newsweek.
"There was a rocket and it was intercepted," the IDF Spokesperson's Unit told Newsweek of the reports, noting it was fired at 7:15 a.m. local time; 15 minutes after the ceasefire—which the IDF is calling an "operational pause"—came into effect.
It is not yet clear which group was responsible for the alleged rocket launch, though the IDF has previously said Hamas bears responsibility for any attacks from Gaza into southern Israel given it holds influence over other local militant groups.
Newsweek has contacted a Hamas spokesperson by WhatsApp to request comment.
Friday's pause in the fighting comes after several weeks of tough negotiations between Israel, Hamas, the U.S., Egypt, and Qatar. It is the first significant break in combat since the Hamas infiltration attack into southern Israel on October 7, which killed some 1,200 people and saw around 240 taken back into the Gaza Strip as hostages.
This is not the first time Hamas previously postponed the ceasefire until Friday, which IDF spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus says is “indicative” of their “psychological warfare” tactics.
“Our posture on the ground will be to continue operations until specifically told by the government to change and facilitate the repatriation of Israeli hostages,” Conricus said Thursday. “This delay, I think, is indicative of what Hamas has been doing all along and will probably do throughout the implementation of this agreement. They are playing a game of psychological warfare where they want to extract maximum pain and discomfort and terror with Israeli civilians waiting for their loved ones to come home.”
Last month, Hamas also agreed to release two hostages in what was likely an attempt to delay a ground invasion as opposed to a gesture of good faith.
It is highly questionable whether Hamas actually intends to release any more hostages at all. But, clearly, Hamas can’t be trusted. There’s already chatter on social media blaming Israel for continued hostilities despite the ceasefire agreement. Clearly, Hamas knows that it can successfully manipulate the media to push the narrative they want.