Islamic Jihad says agree to Gaza ceasefire with Israel: Officials

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The Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian group in the besieged Gaza Strip came into effect at 19:00 GMT.

Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group in Gaza have agreed on a ceasefire officially in effect since 10 p.m. (7 p.m. GMT), Palestinian officials have said, ending the worst episode of cross-border fire since 10 day war in 2021.

Egypt, which brokered the ceasefire, called on all parties to abide by the agreement, the Egyptian television channel Al-Qahera News reported on Saturday.

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

“The two sides will abide by the ceasefire, which includes an end to attacking civilians, demolition of houses and an end to attacking individuals once the ceasefire of becomes force.”

Islamic Jihad confirmed that a ceasefire had been reached. “We declare our acceptance of the Egyptian announcement and we will abide by it as long as the occupation lasts [Israel] adheres to 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 reports by Willem Marx from Ashkelon, Israel.

“[The assessment involves] probably the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, but also Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and of course, sure, some senior military intelligence officials would be involved over the course of the next hour,” Marx said.

“The Israeli military is telling us that their decision on whether the ceasefire is successful will be based entirely on whether there are more rocket fires from Gaza, as you can imagine,” he added.

Shortly before the ceasefire was due to take effect, Israel reported a heavy burst of Palestinian rocket fire towards southern and central Israel, while Israel said it was attacking targets in Gaza. After the 10 p.m. deadline, Israel reported additional rocket fire and Israeli media said warplanes responded.

The latest violence broke out on Tuesday when Israeli airstrikes killed three senior Islamic Jihad commanders. Israel said the attacks were in response to an earlier burst of rockets last week and that the strikes targeted Islamic Jihad targets.

But residents of Gaza said homes belonging to people not involved in the fighting were also hit.

In response, Islamic Jihad fired more than 1,000 rockets, causing Israelis to flee to bomb shelters.

The fighting killed 33 Palestinians in Gaza, including at least 13 civilians. Two people were killed by rockets in Israel, including an 80-year-old Israeli woman and a Palestinian man from Gaza who had a permit to work in Israel.

Islamic Jihad rejects coexistence with Israel and preaches its destruction. Top ministers of Israel’s religious-nationalist government are ruling out any state sought by Palestinians in areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

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