Israel and the Palestine Islamic Jihad militants have agreed on a ceasefire, ending the latest round of conflict that lasted five days. The ceasefire came into effect late on Saturday night under the mediation of Egypt.
“In light of the agreement of the Palestinian and the Israeli side, Egypt announces a ceasefire between the Palestinian and the Israeli sides has been reached … The two sides will abide by the ceasefire which will include an end to targeting civilians, house demolition, an end to targeting individuals immediately when the ceasefire goes into effect,” the ceasefire document said, according to Reuters.
A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office thanked Egypt for the mediation efforts. “Quiet will be met with quiet and if Israel will be attacked or threatened, it shall continue to do what it must in order to defend itself,” the statement said.
Islamic Jihad said it will abide by the terms of the ceasefire. “We declare our acceptance of the Egyptian announcement and we will abide by it as long as the occupation (Israel) abides by it,” the outfit’s spokesman said.
A day earlier, hopes of a ceasefire had faded as Israel ruled out the cessation of hostilities unless the PIJ stopped firing rockets into the country from the Gaza strip. “We’re not holding ceasefire talks,” Israel’s National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi had said.
On Saturday, Palestinian Prime Minister requested the United Nations to intervene in the conflict and get Israel to stop air raids in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
The Islamic Jihad had fired more than 1,000 rockets into Israel during the conflict. The JPost reported that Israel’s Iron Dome successfully intercepted 340 rockets that were heading for populated areas. Israeli offensive said it has so far killed at six top commanders of Islamic Jihad.
At least 33 Palestinians have been killed in the current conflict, while two Israelis also died in rocket attacks.
On Friday, the Palestinian militants launched rockets into Jerusalem, which was the first time in the latest conflict the city was targeted. “The launching towards Jerusalem is a message, and everyone should understand its purpose. Jerusalem is in front of our eyes, and what is happening there is not separate from Gaza,” the al Quds Brigades of the Islamic Jihad said after the rocket attacks.
While the Islamic Jihad openly calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, Israel has ruled out the creation of a Palestine state in territories captured during the 1967 Middle East war.