israeli army and the Palestinian armed groups of the Gaza Strip agreed on a ceasefire on Saturdayafter five days of rocket and missile fire that left 33 dead in the Palestinian enclave and two in the Hebrew state. Egypt, traditional mediator between the two belligerents, received approval from both parties for a truce that was to begin this morning.
An Israeli government official rdeclined any comment on it. The day was marked by new artillery duels. Several rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, according to AFP journalists. The escalation began on Tuesday with Israeli strikes against Islamic Jihad, a group considered a “terrorist organization” by Israel, the European Union and the United States. This is the largest outbreak of violence between the two parties since August 2022.
Shortly before the announcement of the truce, Israeli General Herzi HaleviChairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was pleased that Israel will achieve “important objectives throughout this campaign”. The Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, had announced shortly before that they would continue their Israeli “missile fires at cities”, “before the continuation of assassinations and bombardments” of inhabited areas.
In Gaza, ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement since 2007, the Interior Ministry accused Israel of focusing its attacks “on civilian targets and residential buildings.” He also called on human rights organizations to press “for Israel to put an end to crimes” that “are competence of international justice”.
In the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, more than 2,000 protesters protested at night against the warreported AFP reporters. According to the Israeli army, a Palestinian rocket landed on an Israeli agricultural area in Shokeda, less than 10 kilometers from the Gaza Strip, injuring a Palestinian worker who died in hospital. This death raises 34 the number of Palestinians killed in clashes since Tuesday, 33 of them in the Gaza Strip. On the Israeli side, an octogenarian died on Thursday in Rehovot, in central Israel.
Among the Palestinians killed are six Islamic Jihad commanders, as well as fighters from that movement and from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), another armed group. AFP journalists confirmed on Saturday the damage caused by Israeli bombardments in residential areas such as Beit Lahia, in the north of the Strip, and Deir al Balah, further in the center.
“I see no truce”said Muhammad Muhanna, 58, from the rubble of his home in Gazto. “All the Palestinian people suffer. What did we do?”. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh demanded “United Nations intervention to end the Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank”.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) confirmed on Fridays the death of at least 13 civilians, seven of them minors. israeli army it states that four civilians, three of them minors, were killed by Palestinian rockets that fell inside the Strip. The army claimed to have hit 371 “terror targets” and said some 1,230 rockets were fired at Israel, more than 370 of which were intercepted by the air defense system.
The Gaza Strip is an impoverished and meager Palestinian territory where 2.3 million people live. Since 2007, when the Islamist Hamas movement took full control of the enclave, it has been subject to a strict Israeli blockade. The territory has been the scene of several wars with Israel since 2008. In August 2022, three days of fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad caused the death of 49 Palestinians, including at least 19 children, according to the UN. More than a thousand rockets were fired on that occasion from Gaza towards Israel, leaving injuries.
In the northern occupied West Bank, two Palestinian fighters from the armed wing of Fatahthe movement of Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas, were killed Saturday in an Israeli army operation in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus. Another Palestinian was killed in the afternoonaccording to the army, after trying to attack the police with a knife.