Israel, Islamic Jihad Agree to Truce From Sunday Evening

Streaks of light are seen as Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Sunday. (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

GAZA/YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters/Hamodia) — Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have agreed to a truce in Gaza from Sunday evening as mediated by Cairo, sources said, after a weekend-long pounding of Palestinian targets by Israel triggered longer-range rocket attacks against its cities.

An Egyptian security source said Israel had agreed to the proposal, while a Palestinian official familiar with Egyptian efforts said the ceasefire would go into effect at 8 p.m.

Spokespeople for Israel and PIJ, the terror group it has been fighting in Gaza since clashes erupted on Friday, did not confirm this, saying only that they were in contact with Cairo.

“The goals have been achieved — there’s no benefit in continuing the operation [in Gaza],” Prime Minister Yair Lapid said, according to Kan news.

The flare-up, recalling preludes to previous Gaza wars, has worried world powers. However, it has been relatively contained as Hamas has so far stayed out.

Gaza officials said 31 Palestinians, at least a third of them civilians, had so far been killed. According to the IDF, many of the civilian casualties occurred from PIJ rockets that misfired and fell in Gaza.

The rockets have paralyzed much of southern Israel and sent residents in cities including Tel Aviv and Ashkelon to shelters.

On Sunday morning, Islamic Jihad extended its range to fire toward Yerushalayim in what it described as retaliation for the overnight killing of its southern Gaza commander by Israel — the second such senior officer it has lost in the fighting.

The salvo came as Jews were fasting during Tisha B’Av. Israel said its Iron Dome interceptor, whose success rate the army put at 97%, shot down the rockets just west of the city.

Israel says at least 935 rockets have been fired from Gaza, wounding 37 Israelis, and that the IDF has destroyed 165 terror targets in Gaza.

Israel put the onus on Islamic Jihad to stop shooting. “Quiet will be answered with quiet,” an army spokesman said.

Israel launched what it called pre-emptive strikes on Friday against a threatened Islamic Jihad attack meant to avenge the arrest of a leader of the group that day. Arrest sweeps against the group have continued in that territory.

The hundreds of rockets fired by PIJ are the reason for the continuing operation, according to Israeli security cabinet minister Gideon Saar.

“To the extent that Islamic Jihad wants to protract this operation, it will regret it,” he told Israel’s Army Radio.

Israeli officers inspect damage from a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in a moshav near the border, Sunday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

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