Fragile ceasefire between Israel and militants in Gaza appears to hold after five days of clashes
A fragile ceasefire appears to be holding between Israeli forces and militants in the Gaza Strip after five days of clashes that killed 33 Palestinians and two people in Israel.
The latest fighting, the longest bout since a 10-day war in 2021, began when Israeli jets killed three commanders from the Islamic Jihad militant group in response to earlier rocket launches from Gaza.
In response, the Iranian-backed group fired more than 1,000 rockets, sending Israelis fleeing into bomb shelters. In areas of southern Israel around Gaza, schools were still closed and thousands of residents who had been evacuated had yet to return.
Palestinian officials said 33 people, including women and children as well as Islamic Jihad fighters, were killed. In Israel, an Israeli woman and a Palestinian labourer were killed by rockets.
Israel has now reopened goods and commercial border crossings, allowing fuel to flow to the lone power plant in Gaza. Shops and public offices have reopened, with people returning to streets that had been deserted for days.
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Leaders from both sides of the conflict confirmed their commitment to the truce, which was brokered by Egypt, however Israel has not said it would end targeted killings of Palestinian militant leaders.
Mohammad al Hindi, a senior Islamic Jihad official who co-negotiated the ceasefire in Cairo, said on Sunday that the group was prepared to halt rocket launches in exchange for Israel's agreement to stop targeting houses, civilians, and militant leaders.
"We are committed to the calm agreement as long as the enemy abided by it," he said.
Israel denied it had made any such undertakings.
"I have said time and again: Whoever strikes at us, whoever tries to strike at us, whoever tries to strike us in the future - his blood is forfeit," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
Israeli forces had "successfully concluded five days of fighting the Islamic Jihad terrorist group," he said in the televised remarks, without mentioning a ceasefire agreement.
Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, did not take part in the fighting and Israeli military officials said their strikes did not target its infrastructure or leaders. How long the latest ceasefire will hold remained unclear.