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Monday, 23 September 2019

Palestinian militants agree truce after exchange of fire with Israel

Reuters , Saturday 27 Oct 2018
Gaza
Mourners carry the body of Palestinian man Ahmed Abu Lebda, 22, who was killed during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, during his funeral in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip October 27, 2018. (Reuters)
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Palestinian militants said on Saturday they would halt attacks into Israel from the Gaza Strip after they fired the heaviest rocket salvoes across the border since August.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, one of the armed groups that operates in Gaza, said it fired the rockets in retaliation for Israel's killing of four Palestinian protesters on Friday.

Israel in response struck dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

A spokesman for the militants said an Egyptian-mediated truce had been reached.

"After contacts between the Islamic Jihad leadership and the brothers in Egypt it was agreed that a comprehensive ceasefire will begin immediately," spokesman Daoud Shehab said. "The Islamic Jihad will abide by the ceasefire if the occupation (Israel) does the same."

Egyptian security officials have been talking separately to Israeli and Palestinian leaders in an attempt to restore calm along the border.

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined comment on Shehab's remarks and there was no immediate response from other Israeli officials. Israel rarely acknowledges it has reached a truce with Gaza's militant groups which it designates as terrorist organisations.

Earlier, Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus accused Syria and Iran of involvement in the rocket attack.

"Orders and incentives were given from Damascus with a clear involvement of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards al-Quds force," Conricus told reporters. "Our response is not limited geographically."

Israel regularly accuses Iran of aiding Gaza militants, but rarely levels the charge in connection with a specific rocket attack.

Shehab dismissed the allegation as "an Israeli attempt to escape its responsibility" for Friday's protest deaths.

Palestinians have been protesting along the frontier since March 30, demanding an end to an Israeli blockade and the right to return to lands from which they fled or were driven from when Israel was founded in 1948.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 213 Gazans have been killed by Israeli occupation forces during the protests. An Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper.

About two million Palestinians are packed into the Gaza Strip which is in a deep economic crisis. Israel besieged Gaza Strip since 2007, waging three wars 2008, 2012 and 2014, leaving more than 3000 Palestinians killed, thousands injured and infrastructure in shambles.

 

*This story was edited by Ahram Online. 

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