Israel and the Gaza Strip’s Islamic Jihad paramilitary organization agreed on Saturday night with Egyptian mediation to end intense five days of fighting that left 33 Palestinians dead, 13 of them civilians. Were. Two people were killed in a missile attack in Israel.
The fragile ceasefire reportedly went into effect just after 10 p.m., although a volley of missiles was fired at the last minute and Israel launched airstrikes several minutes before Egypt’s announced time.
On Saturday night, Israel reported additional fire in the direction of its territory and said it was attacking Gaza again. But apparently, peace was quickly restored.
Although the ceasefire brought relief to more than two million people in Gaza and hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in shelters in recent days, the agreement did not address the root causes of several rounds of fighting. Which has raged for years between Israeli and Palestinian paramilitary groups in the Gaza Strip.
In Gaza, Islamic Jihad spokesman Tarek Selmi said Israel had agreed to suspend its policy of specifically targeting the group’s leaders.
“Any folly or murder by the occupation will face a reaction and the Zionist enemy is responsible,” he said.
But in a statement thanking Egypt for its mediation efforts, Tzachi Nganegbi, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security adviser, said “Peace will be met with peace” and Israel will “do everything necessary to defend itself.”
Tensions could return next week when Israel holds a controversial march down a main Palestinian avenue in Jerusalem’s Old City.
However, as the ceasefire took hold, the deafening noise of missiles being fired and explosions of Israeli airstrikes gave way to the sound of vehicle horns in Gaza.
Streets that had been deserted in recent days quickly filled with people celebrating the ceasefire, waving Palestinian flags, and speeding vehicles waving victory signs.
Amid the festivities, a fruit vendor excitedly announced that he had bananas available.
The latest round of violence erupted on Tuesday after Israel killed three Islamic Jihad commanders in airstrikes. Israel said the attack was in response to a barrage of missiles fired last week and that it had focused its actions against Islamic Jihad targets.
However, Gazans said that Israel also attacked the homes of people who were not involved in the air combat.