Friday, May 24, 2024

Islamic Jihad says Gaza truce agreed with Israel — officials

(Al Jazeera Media Network) Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group in Gaza have agreed to a truce that has officially been in effect since 10 p.m. (19:00 GMT), Palestinian officials have said, signalling a potential end to the worst episode of cross-border fire since a 10-day war in 2021.

Egypt, which brokered the ceasefire, called on all sides to adhere to the agreement, Egypt’s Al-Qahera News television channel reported on Saturday.

“In the light of the agreement of the Palestinian and the Israeli side, Egypt announces a ceasefire between the Palestinian and the Israeli side has been reached,” read a text of the agreement seen by Reuters, and added the truce would begin at 10 p.m.

“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,” it said.

Islamic Jihad confirmed a truce had been reached. “We declare our acceptance of the Egyptian announcement, and we will abide by it as long as the occupation [Israel] abides by it,” said the group’s spokesman Dawoud Shehab.

The Israeli military confirmed to Al Jazeera that there will be a “situational assessment” regarding the ceasefire, according to Willem Marx reporting from Ashkelon, Israel.

“[The assessment involves] probably the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, but also the Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and, of course, definitely that would involve some of the senior military intelligence officials over the course of the next hour or so,” Marx said.

“The Israeli military saying to us that their determination whether the ceasefire is successful will be completely based on whether there is further rocket fire from Gaza as you can imagine,” he added.

Shortly before the truce was to take hold, Israel reported a heavy burst of Palestinian rocket fire toward southern and central Israel, while Israel said it was attacking targets inside Gaza. After the 10 p.m. deadline, Israel reported additional rocket fire, and Israeli media said warplanes were responding.

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