Gaza: truce takes effect between Israel and Islamic Jihad after days of fighting

A truce in between Israel And the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad has been effective after three days of cross-border fighting in the Gaza Strip following surprise Israeli airstrikes.

US President Joe Biden welcomed the deal on Sunday and called on all parties to “fully implement the ceasefire and ensure fuel and humanitarian supplies.” Gaza After the fighting subsides”

The president lamented the injuries and deaths of civilians in Gaza, but did not specify who was responsible. “The reports of civilian deaths in Gaza are a tragedy, whether from Israeli strikes on Islamic Jihad positions or dozens of Islamic Jihad rockets that fell into Gaza,” Biden said.

The US, he said, has worked with both sides and regional partners to “encourage a speedy resolution of the conflict”.

Israeli attacks and rocket fire continued in the minutes leading up to the ceasefire, which Egyptian mediators said began at 11.30pm (9.30 BST) on Sunday. Israel confirmed that the ceasefire had been observed, but said it would retaliate if it was violated. Islamic Jihad has also endorsed this agreement. Spokesman Tarek Selmi said, “We appreciate the Egyptian efforts that were made to end the Israeli aggression against our people.

The United Nations Security Council has organized an emergency meeting on Monday on this violence. Tor Wensland, the UN Middle East peace envoy, said in a statement: “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.”

The deal should at least temporarily halt the bloodshed that began Friday in the blockaded territory with Israel’s “pre-emptive” Operation Breaking Dawn, which thwarted allegedly planned rocket attacks by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

A total of 44 Palestinians, 15 of them children, as well as members of Islamic Jihad, have now been killed in the bombing campaign and more than 300 people have been injured, while 13 Israelis have been treated in hospital for minor injuries. Retaliatory rockets were fired across the Gaza border into the south of the country.

Israel said a stray rocket fired by Islamic Jihad killed several children in Jabaliya, northern Gaza, on Saturday. Islamic Jihad has not commented on the claim, while Hamas, which rules the Strip, has blamed Israel for the attack.

The outbreak of violence between Israeli and Palestinian militants is the worst since the 11-day war last May. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had indicated that the operation would last about a week; Israel has inflicted significant losses on Islamic Jihad in the past three days, including the targeted killing of two senior commanders.

Whether the latest conflict could yet escalate into a full-scale conflict largely depends on whether Hamas, the major Islamist movement in control of the Strip, decides to intervene. While the two groups are in an alliance, Hamas has not fully replenished its arsenal or tunnel network since last May’s war and has resisted being drawn into the fighting. However, all sides are aware that the risk of miscalculation or escalation increases with each passing hour.

Unlike Hamas, Islamic Jihad is not responsible for running the day-to-day affairs of the impoverished region. As a result, it is seen as a more militant resistance group, often operating independently and sometimes undermining the authority of Hamas.

Gaza’s 2.2 million residents have already been hit by an unexpected spasm of violence, following four wars and several other conflicts over the past 15 years.

A joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after Hamas took control in 2007 has turned electricity and clean water into scarce commodities, trapping a struggling population with around 50% unemployment and a crumbling medical infrastructure.

Mohammed al-Aydi, 37, used a hose to fill water tanks in the scorching heat of Sunday afternoon, as his home had been without water since hostilities began on Friday. Gaza’s only power plant was forced to shut down after 12 hours due to a lack of fuel, with the local health authority warning that ambulances, operating rooms and intensive care units would be forced to suspend services if fuel was not available in the next 72 hours. .

Electricity has been running for three hours at a time since yesterday. I get a generator subscription that I can’t afford, so I have to take batteries to my neighbour’s house to charge the lighting and internet router,” he said.

“It’s only day three and we’re already suffering badly.”

Tensions also rose in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank on Sunday after Islamic Jihad fired rockets into the west of Jerusalem overnight, and large numbers of Jewish visitors were admitted to the al-Aqsa mosque compound to commemorate Tisha B’Av. Two ancient temples once stood on the site.

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The disputed area is sacred to Muslims and Jews, who call it the Temple Mount. Unofficially, Jews are allowed to visit but not pray at the site. In recent years, however, a growing number of Jewish visitors, sometimes praying or accompanied by a police escort, have fueled long-standing Palestinian fears that Israel plans to annex the compound.

Last Monday’s arrest of Bassem al-Saadi, the top commander of Islamic Jihad in the occupied West Bank, sparked a week of tension following an Israeli strike. While Islamic Jihad did not fire rockets after Saadi’s arrest, Israel insists the group is retaliating.

The Gaza Strip has been relatively quiet since the war in May last year, which killed 256 people in Gaza and 14 in Israel. The new round of fighting comes as Israel prepares for its fifth election in four years after the collapse of a short-lived coalition government that ousted longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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