Jerusalem, Feb.2 (ANI): The Israeli Air Force struck rocket-launching areas in northern Gaza and a Hamas security building in central Gaza on Sunday night.The targets attacked included six smuggling tunnels and a Hamas outpost, the Jerusalem Post quoted the Israeli government as saying in a statement.The jets also bombed the Gaza-Egypt border area, where Hamas is known to have smuggled weapons through tunnels.
The attacks came even as Palestinian Authority and Hamas leaders were said to be close to reaching a Gaza cease-fire deal in talks with Egyptian officials in Cairo.
There were no immediate reports of casualties, but Palestinian sources reported huge explosions in the area.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promised a "harsh" and "disproportionate" response to the renewal of rocket fire into Israel when he addressed the cabinet on Sunday, shortly after a rocket hit near a kindergarten in the Eshkol region.
Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was in Cairo to discuss arrangements to reopen the Rafah crossing between Sinai and Gaza, "with the anticipation of the Palestinian Authority managing the traffic through the crossing point," an Egyptian official told The Jerusalem Post. According to the Saudi Arabia-based Al-Arabiya satellite network, Abbas will discuss a proposal to open the Rafah crossing on Thursday that will coincide with the announcement of a one-year truce between Israel and Hamas.
Hamas has agreed to allow the PA to manage the crossings with the presence and coordination of Hamas observers, Al-Arabiya reported. If true, this would represent a major breakthrough in Egyptian-mediated negotiations.
Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said he could not confirm the Al-Arabiya report, adding that he would not comment on anything that would jeopardize the negotiations with Hamas.
The full Hamas delegation was set to arrive in Cairo on Monday evening, and it was expected to give its answer to Egypt regarding Israel's latest truce proposal on Tuesday. (ANI)