Israel and Islamic Jihad reach cease-fire to end five days of fighting

·1-min read
© Ibraheem Abu Mustafa, Reuters

Israel and the Islamic Jihad militant group in the Gaza Strip agreed to an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire late Saturday, ending five days of intense fighting that left 33 Palestinians, including at least 13 civilians, dead. Two people in Israel were killed by rocket fire.

The cease-fire took effect just after 10 p.m., with a last-minute burst of rocket fire and Israeli airstrikes stretching several minutes past the deadline announced by Egypt.

While the calm brought a sense of relief to Gaza’s more than 2 million people and hundreds of thousands of Israelis who had been confined to bomb shelters in recent days, the agreement did nothing to address the underlying issues that have fueled numerous rounds of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office put out a statement thanking Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi for his efforts to restore calm. Egypt frequently acts as a broker between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

The statement quoted Netanyahu's national security adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi, as saying that “quiet would be answered with quiet” but that Israel would respond to further threats with "whatever needs to be done.”

In Gaza, Islamic Jihad spokesman Tareq Selmi said Israel had agreed to halt its policy of targeted strikes on the group's leaders. “Any stupidity or assassination by the occupation will be met with a response and the Zionist enemy bears the responsibility.” he said.


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