June 7, 2023

The militant group said a truce between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement in Gaza would take effect on Sunday night after an agreement was reached with the help of Egyptian mediators.

The deal offers hope for an end to the worst clashes on the Gaza border in more than a year.

“We thank Egypt for its efforts to end Israel’s aggression against our people,” said Islamic Jihad spokesman Tarek Selmi.

Clashes first erupted on Friday between Israel and Islamic Jihad, the faction it has been fighting in Gaza.

Despite the concerns of world powers, the conflict is relatively contained because Hamas, the ruling Islamist group in the Gaza Strip and a force stronger than Iran-backed Islamic Jihad, has so far remained out of the picture.

Gaza officials say 31 Palestinians have been killed so far, at least a third of them civilians.

Israel said its Iron Dome defenses had successfully blocked 97 percent of rocket attacks targeting its cities after the country’s military carried out a weekend-long savage attack on Palestinian targets that killed 31 people.

The Israeli army said militants in the Gaza Strip fired some 580 rockets at Israel, but its air defenses intercepted many of them, two of which were shot down to Jerusalem.

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

On Sunday morning, Islamic Jihad extended its range and opened fire on Jerusalem in what it said was retaliation for Israel’s overnight killing of a commander in southern Gaza – its second senior military officer lost in the fighting.

“The blood of martyrs will not be wasted,” Islamic Jihad said in a statement.

Israel launched what it called a pre-emptive strike on Friday against its expected Islamic Jihad attack in retaliation for the arrest of a leader of the group in the occupied West Bank.

The Israel Defense Forces said arrests against the Islamic Jihad group continued after it hit 11 Islamic Jihad rocket sites in the Gaza Strip on Sunday.

Hundreds of rockets fired by Islamic Jihad were the reason for the continued operation, according to Israeli Security Cabinet Minister Gideon Sal.

“If Islamic Jihad wanted to prolong this operation, it would regret it,” he told Israeli Army Radio.

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