Israel and the extremist Palestinian group “Islamic Jihad” in the Gaza Strip have stopped attacking each other after five days of fighting. A ceasefire brokered by Egypt just a few hours earlier has been in effect since Saturday evening (local time).
The Israeli government thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for his mediation efforts. “Islamic Jihad”, classified as a terrorist organization by Israel, the EU and the USA, also confirmed the agreement. Their leader Siyad al-Nachala added in a video message: “Our people stood their ground and were not crushed.” In Gaza, the largest city in the Gaza Strip, streets that had been deserted during the recent attacks have been filling up again. Passers-by cheered, drivers honked.
“Silence the Answer to Silence”
“Israel’s response to the Egyptian initiative” means that “calm is the answer to calm,” said a security adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But if Israel is attacked and threatened, it will do whatever it takes to defend itself, he stressed.
The situation in the region has been extremely tense since the death of a high-ranking representative of “Islamic Jihad” in Israeli custody. Chader Adnan, 45, died in early May after a month-long hunger strike. Violence between Israelis and Palestinians flared up again Tuesday after senior members of the Iran-backed group were killed in Israeli airstrikes.
According to the military, more than 1,200 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip since Tuesday. In return, more than 370 “terrorist targets” were hit. According to official reports, more than 30 people were killed in the Gaza Strip, and a woman and a Palestinian worker were killed in rocket attacks in Israel.
“Islamic Jihad” advocates the destruction of the Jewish state. For their part, leading ministers in Israel’s right-wing religious government reject the establishment of a Palestinian state.
wa/haz/ust (afp, rtr, dpa)