Islamic Jihad announce Gaza ceasefire after mortar attacks on Israel

30 May, 2018, 20:26 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • An Israeli army soldier films during a searching raid in the West Bank al Fawwar refugee camp south of Hebron

Hamas said Wednesday that Palestinian militant groups would agree to a ceasefire if Israel also agreed to abide by one, following the biggest exchange of fire in Gaza since the 2014 war there.

The Gaza border has been the site of mass protests aimed at lifting Israel and Egypt's blockade on the Gaza Strip which has been in place since 2014.

Hamas' deputy chief inGaza, Khalil al-Hayya, said Egyptian mediation led to the ceasefire, but the terms of the "understanding" did not go beyond "a restoration of calm by both sides".

Israel's military has said it was not seeking an escalation, but warned Hamas, with whom it has fought three wars since 2008, to rein in its fighters. He said the factions, including Islamic Jihad, would agree to the cease-fire as long as Israel did the same.

Rockets fired by Palestinian militants are seen over the Gaza Strip heading toward Israel, early Wednesday, May 30, 2018.

The IDF said on Twitter that it struck 25 military targets in Gaza in retaliation for the increased fire.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad have claimed Tuesday's attacks, while the worldwide community has called on the groups to cease firing projectiles immediately. Israel said "most" of the mortars from Gaza were intercepted by its Iron Dome aerial defense system, and that three soldiers were wounded.

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Israel unilaterally withdrew its settlements and military presence from Gaza in 2005. Israel and the US have described Hamas and Islamic Jihad as a terrorist organizations. The Tel Aviv regime said its assault came in response to a barrage of rocket and mortar rounds fired at the occupied territories.

In his remarks, Netanyahu also said that next week he will travel to Germany, France and Britain to meet with European leaders on the Iran nuclear deal and Iranian military entrenchment in neighboring Syria.

Whilst a senior Israeli official said Israel was not interested in war but would respond "forcefully" to any rocket fire from the Strip, the Times of Israel reported.

As the slew of rocket fire appeared to abate as night fell on Tuesday, Israeli officials and Gaza militants delivered similar but separate messages stating their intention to avoid further escalation but vowing to retaliate to any action taken.

Michael said Hamas was in a hard position following weekly mass demonstrations at the Israel-Gaza border fence. The last war, in 2014, was particularly deadly, with more than 2,000 Palestinians dying, including hundreds of civilians.

France and Britain have criticised the draft resolution for a lack of specific details, diplomats said, adding the USA viewed it as biased against Israel.

The Gaza Strip has been under Israeli blockade for over a decade, which Israel says is necessary to prevent Hamas from obtaining means to attack. In the initial barrage on Tuesday morning, a rocket hit a kindergarten, although no children were inside at the time.

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