May 26, 2024


A truce between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement in Gaza will take effect on Sunday afternoon, following an agreement reached with the help of Egyptian mediators, the militant group said.

The deal raised hopes of an end to the most serious flare-up on the Gaza border in more than a year.

“We appreciate the Egyptian efforts made to end Israeli aggression against our people,” said Islamic Jihad spokesman Tarek Selmi.

Clashes first broke out between Israel and Islamic Jihad, the faction fighting in Gaza, on Friday.

Despite worrying global powers, the conflict has been relatively contained because Hamas, the ruling Islamist group in the Gaza Strip and a stronger force than Iran-backed Islamic Jihad, has so far been kept out.

Gaza officials said 31 Palestinians, at least a third of them civilians, have been killed so far.

Israel said its Iron Dome defense system successfully intercepted 97 percent of rocket attacks against its cities after a weekend pounding of Palestinian targets by the country’s military that left 31 dead.

The Israeli military said militants in Gaza had fired about 580 rockets at Israel, but its air defenses had intercepted many of them, while two of those shot down were fired at Jerusalem.

The rockets have paralyzed much of southern Israel and sent residents in cities such as Tel Aviv and Ashkelon to shelters.

On Sunday morning, Islamic Jihad extended its range to fire toward Jerusalem in what it described as retaliation for the killing of its commander in southern Gaza by Israel – the second such senior officer to be killed in the fighting.

“The blood of the martyrs will not go to waste,” Islamic Jihad said in a statement.

Israel launched what it called pre-emptive strikes on Friday against what it expected to be an attack by Islamic Jihad to avenge the capture of a leader of the group in the occupied West Bank.

The Israel Defense Forces said they hit 11 Islamic Jihad rocket launchers across the Gaza Strip on Sunday and arrest sweeps against the group continued.

The hundreds of rockets fired by Islamic Jihad in response were the reason for the continued operation, according to Israel’s security minister, Gideon Shaar.

“To the extent that Islamic Jihad wants to prolong this operation, it will regret it,” he told Israel’s Military Radio.

Additional reports from agencies


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