The Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement says it is holding fire after the regime in Israel accepted its key demands, including stopping targeted killings, as part of an Egypt-mediated truce aimed at ending the military confrontation between the two sides.
Speaking on Thursday morning, the Islamic Jihad’s spokesman, Musab al-Braim, confirmed earlier reports of the truce, saying the ceasefire came into force at 5:30 a.m. local time (3:30 GMT), Reuters reported.
Braim said Tel Aviv had agreed to both end its targeted killings of Palestinian resistance fighters and lethal gunfire at weekly Palestinian demonstrations against occupation near the fence separating the Gaza Strip from the Israeli-occupied territories.
“The ceasefire began under Egyptian sponsorship after the Occupation (Israel) submitted to the conditions set by Islamic Jihad on behalf of Palestinian resistance factions,” Braim told Reuters.
Earlier, Egyptian sources said the “ceasefire agreement comes as a result of Egypt’s efforts” and has been endorsed by “Palestinian factions including Islamic Jihad.”
The Tel Aviv regime had agreed to the Islamic Jihad’s key demands in exchange for the resistance group to stop firing rockets into the occupied territories and ensure Gaza rallies are peaceful.
There has been no confirmation so far from the Israeli side.
Nonetheless, shortly after the ceasefire, rocket warning sirens were reportedly sounded south of the occupied lands.
On Wednesday night, Ziad al-Nakhala, the Islamic Jihad secretary general, said the resistance group had laid out a list of demands for the ceasefire with Israel to Egyptian moderators.
“We gave specific conditions for a ceasefire,” he told the Beirut-headquartered Al Mayadeen TV channel. “If Israel accepts them, we will accept a ceasefire.”
“If Israel does not accept them, we are going to continue to fight for an open period of time,” he warned.
The Islamic Jihad’s “simple and humble” demands include an end to assassinations in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Israeli troops not firing at innocent civilians during Gaza protests, and Tel Aviv abiding by the understandings regarding Gaza reached in Cairo during previous ceasefire negotiations, Nakhala explained.
The escalation erupted early on Tuesday, when Israel assassinated senior Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata, along with his wife, in a targeted strike on their home in Gaza.
A similar strike also hit the home of another Islamic Jihad commander in Syria on Tuesday, but missed the target.
Israel continued its deadly air raids on the besieged coastal sliver, killing 30 other Palestinians and injuring 97 others over the past two days.
Ata’s assassination sparked Palestinian retaliatory attacks into the occupied territories.
A total of 300 rockets are estimated to have been launched from Gaza, reaching as far as Tel Aviv and shutting schools in the occupied territories’ central and southern areas.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Islamic Jihad spokesman Abu Hamza said Israel is hiding the true extent of destruction caused by retaliatory rocket attacks.
“We challenge the Zionist military censorship to reveal pictures and videos showing the extent of the destruction of factories, headquarters and settler houses in the occupied cities,” he wrote.