Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant died according to his movement, following an overnight Israeli air stike in Rafah in the southern Gaza strip, on August 7, 2022. AFP
The ceasefire agreement is set to end three days of renewed conflict between Israel and Islamic Jihad in the enclave with Israeli airstrikes claiming the lives of 43 Palestinians, including children.
Israel affirmed in an official statement today that it will stop fighting with the Islamic Jihad in Gaza at 11:30 pm local time. However, it threatened to strike back “forcefully” in response to any breach of the ceasefire.
Israel also thanked Egypt for its efforts in securing an end to the escalation.
Egypt has intensified contacts with both sides in the enclave to contain the current escalation, an official source said earlier.
Moreover, Egypt is also working to ensure the release of Palestinian captive Khalil Awawdeh and transport him for treatment as well as captive Bassam Al-Saadi, the source added.
Awawdeh, 40, has been arrested by the Israeli authorities in December last year and detained since then without a trial. Awawdeh has been reportedly on a hunger strike for around a month as he remained in jail without charges. Saadi, a senior figure in Islamic Jihad's political wing, was recently arrested in the occupied West Bank.
Fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad started in Gaza on Friday when Israel assassinated prominent Islamic Jihad leader Taysir Al-Jaabari in Gaza through airstrikes, ending a year of calm in the enclave. The Islamic Jihad reportedly launched hundreds of rockets against Israeli cities from Gaza in retaliation.
On Sunday, Israeli officials also claimed to kill Khaled Mansour, a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad in an airstrike in Gaza yesterday.
Both Israel and the Islamic Jihad said that they had agreed to the Cairo-brokered ceasefire proposal.
"A short while ago the wording of the Egyptian truce agreement was reached, which contains Egypt's commitment to work towards the release of two prisoners, Al-Saadi and Awawdeh," senior Islamic Jihad member Mohammad al-Hindi said in a statement.
According to earlier reports, the deal will include Israeli concessions to alleviate the Gaza Strip's fuel shortage. Within this context, Israel said that it will ease the blockade and allow the passage of fuel trucks to the strip’s power station on Monday.
The ceasefire plans come a day after President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said Egypt is exerting "big efforts," alongside partners, to restore stability and calm in the Gaza Strip and is contacting the Palestinians and Israelis to ensure that things do not get out of control.
Egypt also announced in a brief statement by the foreign ministry on Friday that it has intensified contact round the clock in an effort to contain the situation in Gaza, achieve calm, and protect lives and properties.
The last major Israeli assault on Gaza was in May 2021, which killed around 250 Palestinians, including women and children, before an Egypt-brokered ceasefire ended hostilities.
The Israeli aggression last year has left the enclave in dire need of reconstruction work after destroying and damaging thousands of housing units and vital facilities and leaving scores of Gazans homeless after 11 days of airstrikes.
Over the past year, Egypt has maintained diplomatic and security contacts with both the Israeli and Palestinian sides to consolidate the ceasefire and pave the way for the resumption of the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.
Egypt has also been carrying out the reconstruction work in the enclave, including building towns that are planned to accommodate hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, as El-Sisi pledged $500 million to rebuild Gaza in May 2021.