Israel Gaza Shaky start to ceasefire ends five days of fighting

Israel-Gaza: Shaky start to ceasefire ends five days of fighting – BBC

May 13, 2023

Updated 15 minutes ago

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad confirmed that a ceasefire had been agreed, while Israel said calm would be met with calm

There is hope that a ceasefire will be reached to end five days of fighting between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) militants in Gaza.

It got off to a rocky start as both sides continued firing for two hours after the ceasefire began Saturday night.

At least 33 Palestinians have been killed since Tuesday in Gaza, where Israel says it has attacked Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets.

Palestinian rocket fire on Israel has killed two people, one Israeli and one Palestinian, who work in the country.

The mediation effort was spearheaded by Egypt, which urged both sides to honor the ceasefire agreement.

Washington welcomed the ceasefire announcement and said US officials had been working with regional partners to reach the resolution.

Palestinian rocket fire triggered warning sirens in southern Israel, near Gaza and in the suburbs of the city of Tel Aviv just before the ceasefire was due to go into effect at 22:00 local time (19:00 GMT) on Saturday.

Minutes after the alleged start, militants continued to fire rockets at communities in southern Israel and the Israeli military carried out airstrikes on alleged two Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) rocket launchers in Gaza.

Another rocket fire at around 11:00 p.m. triggered another round of airstrikes.

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More than 1,200 rockets and mortar shells were fired from Gaza into Israel

Despite the fighting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement confirming that a ceasefire had been agreed and thanking Egypt for its “intense efforts” to secure a ceasefire.

It also said Israel has made it clear that its acceptance means that “calm will be answered with calm and that Israel will continue to do whatever is necessary to defend itself if attacked or threatened.”

The PIJ also confirmed the ceasefire, with a Portal spokesman saying, “We will stand by it as long as the occupation lasts.” [Israel] stick to it.”

According to a Egyptian intelligence text obtained by the BBC, Palestinian militants and Israel have agreed to end actions against civilians and others.

Yolande Knell of the BBC in Jerusalem says that this form of language appears to cover both recent heavy rocket fire from Gaza and Israel’s controversial policy of targeting militant leaders.

Israel began its military operation in Gaza before dawn on Tuesday, killing three PIJ leaders in their homes and at least 10 civilians, including relatives and neighbors of the men.

PIJ fighters then fired volleys of rockets into southern and central Israel, which they say were intended to avenge the dead.

According to the Israeli military, a total of at least 1,234 rockets and mortar shells were fired from Gaza, 976 of which reached Israeli territory. Most were intercepted or landed in open areas, but some hit houses and other structures.

A woman was killed on Thursday when a rocket hit an apartment building in downtown Rehovot, while a Gaza worker was killed when he was hit by rocket shrapnel at a construction site in the southern Sdot Negev region.

According to the military, 221 of the rockets missed in the Gaza Strip, killing four people there, including three children. Islamic Jihad denies the allegation.

Israel has carried out airstrikes on 371 PIJ targets across the Gaza Strip, killing three other leaders and allegedly destroying the group’s rocket launch sites and command centers.

According to local health officials, about half of the 33 people killed in Gaza were civilians, including seven children and four women.