As Israel-Palestinian truce holds, Gaza power plant restarts

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — With a cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants After nearly three days of violence, Gaza’s only power plant resumed operations on Monday and Israel began reopening crossings into the territory.

Israel lifted security restrictions on southern Israeli communities after the Egyptian-brokered war implemented late Sunday.

War-weary people in Gaza and Israel were left to pick up the pieces after another round of violence – the worst since the 11-day war between Israel and the territory’s Hamas rulers last year.

Since Friday, Israeli jets have pounded targets in Gaza, while the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said 44 Palestinians, including 15 children and four women, were killed and 311 wounded during the three-day fighting. Twelve of those killed were Islamic Jihad militants, one from a smaller armed group and two were policemen affiliated with Hamas who were not participating in the fighting, according to the armed groups.

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Israel estimates a total of 47 Palestinians killed, including 14 by Islamic Jihad rockets. It said the Israeli airstrikes killed 20 fighters and seven civilians, and that six deaths were still under investigation.

No Israelis were killed or seriously injured in the fighting.

The violence threatened to escalate into another all-out war but was contained as Hamas stayed away, possibly fearing Israeli retaliation and unraveling its economic understanding with Israel.Including issuing Israeli work permits that provide an important source of income for thousands of Gazans.

Israel and Hamas have fought four wars since the group seized the territory in 2007. The clashes have taken a shocking toll. 2.3 million Palestinian residents of the impoverished region.

The latest violence may have strengthened political fortunes Israel’s caretaker prime minister, Yair Lapid, had no experience of military operations. He launched an offensive three months before the general election in which he is campaigning to keep his job.

Israel began reopening crossings into Gaza for humanitarian needs and said it would fully reopen if calm prevailed. Fuel trucks were seen entering the main cargo crossing and heading to the power plant, which closed after Israel closed the crossing on Saturday.

This added to the misery in the region under the Israeli-Egyptian blockade, which is at the height of summer heat and faces a severe electricity crisis that leaves residents with only a few hours of electricity a day.

Although the country’s sophisticated Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted many of the rockets, the violence disrupted the lives of millions of Israelis.

Israel began its action by striking on Friday There were “concrete threats” of anti-tank missile attacks on Israelis in response to last week’s arrest of an Islamic Jihad commander, a senior member of Islamic Jihad in the occupied West Bank. The arrests followed Israeli raids in the West Bank following Palestinian attacks.

Israel killed another Islamic Jihad leader in a raid on Saturday.

Both sides boasted of their success. Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Sunday, Islamic Jihad leader Ziad al-Nakhlah said the terror group remained strong despite the loss of two commanders. “This is a victory for Islamic Jihad,” he said.

Despite this claim, the group was undoubtedly shocked. Beyond losing two leaders, hundreds of rockets were fired, reducing its arsenal.

Israel said some of the deaths in Gaza were caused by accidental militant rocket fire, including at the Jebaliya refugee camp, where six Palestinians were killed on Saturday. On Monday, the military said it was still investigating the deaths of five Palestinians in Jebalia. A spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.

The cease-fire agreement included a pledge that Egypt would work for the release of two senior Islamic Jihad prisoners held by Israel. The weekend fighting will complicate Islamic Jihad’s relationship with Hamas.

In the occupied West Bank on Monday, Israeli forces demolished the homes of two Palestinians suspected of carrying out deadly attacks on Israelis in the town of Ilad in May. During this operation, the soldiers faced violent agitation, the army said.

The UN Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting on Monday on the latest round of fighting.

“We underline our commitment to do everything we can to end the ongoing escalation, ensure the safety and security of the civilian population, and pursue the Palestinian prisoner case,” Tor Wensland, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said in a statement. .

The Israeli military said militants in Gaza fired about 1,100 rockets toward Israel, with about 200 landing in the Palestinian enclave. The military said its air defense intercepted 380, including two fired in the direction of Jerusalem. The military did not say what happened to the rest, but they likely fell in open areas or broke up in flight.

Islamic Jihad has fewer fighters and supporters than Hamas, and little is known about its arsenal. Both groups call for the destruction of Israel, but Hamas is constrained by the regime’s demands.

Over the past year, Israel and Hamas have reached a quiet understanding based on a truce over work permits and a slight relaxation of the border blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt 15 years ago. Israel has issued 12,000 work permits to Gaza laborers and plans to grant another 2,000.

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Goldenberg reported from Tel Aviv, Israel. Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer contributed to this report.

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