Ceasefire Reached in Gaza; IDF: All Goals Achieved Within 48 Hours

YERUSHALAYIM -
A man delivers bread to a shop on a street in Sderot, Thursday morning. (Reuters/ Ronen Zvulun)

The IDF confirmed Thursday morning that a ceasefire was achieved in the south, noting that Operation Black Belt, as it has now been called, had achieved its goals.

“We achieved all our goals within 48 hours,” said Spokesman Brigadier General Hadi Silberman. “We must continue to focus on the northern arena – Iranian activity is not just in Syria.

“We used a small part of our capabilities, but we did not fight with Hamas, nor with Hezbollah or with the Iranians,” the IDF spokesman added.

Early in the morning, an Egyptian source reported a ceasefire agreement had been reached between Israel and the Islamic Jihad and that it took effect as of 5:30 a.m.

The Islamic Jihad spokesman, Musab Al-Braim, said the ceasefire took effect 48 hours since Israel sparked the exchange of fire by killing the faction’s top Gaza commander in an airstrike, deeming him an imminent threat.

Iron Dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets are launched from Gaza towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Wednesday night. (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

According to the Egyptian source, Islamic Jihad and other organizations agreed to the Egyptian proposal for an immediate ceasefire and to conduct demonstrations along the border fence peacefully, while Israel agreed to the Egyptian proposal for an immediate ceasefire, cessation of targeted killings, and cessation of shootings at protesters along the fence.

Emergency regulations imposed on areas within range of Gaza rockets were being eased.

“The ceasefire began under Egyptian sponsorship after the Occupation [Israel] submitted to the conditions set by Islamic Jihad on behalf of Palestinian resistance factions,” Al-Braim said.

But Israel said it would observe a simpler quid pro quo of holding fire if Palestinian terrorists did so first.

“Quiet will be answered with quiet,” Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz told Army Radio, denying there were wider policy views.

Israeli targeted killings “will not cease,” he said, and “the open-fire policy for which the IDF is responsible [at the Gaza border] will not change.”

Gaza appeared to have fallen mostly silent at the hour cited by Islamic Jihad, with the exception of a lone rocket launch and the sounding of sirens in some outlying Israeli towns.