As the sun sets over Gaza on Tuesday, Palestinian factions announce an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire

No comment yet from Israel, although officials said they would watch developments on the ground

November 13, 2018 17:23

More than 24 hours after Palestinian factions in Gaza began firing repeated barrages of rockets and mortar shells towards southern Israel on Monday afternoon, they announced they had accepted an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire.

Israel has not commented on Tuesday afternoon’s announcement, although officials said that they would be watching developments on the ground.

Only a short statement was issued after a seven-hour security cabinet meeting, attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior IDF generals, which said the cabinet “had instructed the IDF to continue operations as necessary”.

Unofficial reports in the Israeli media however indicated that the ministers had voted in favour of accepting the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.

It had yet to begin early on Tuesday evening, but from the early afternoon there was a lull in both launches from Gaza and Israeli air-strikes.

From 4.30pm on Monday, some 460 projectiles were fired from Gaza. In response, Israel attacked around 160 targets associated with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

In Gaza, seven Palestinians in Gaza were killed and around 20 others wounded. On the Israeli side, one man — Mahmoud Abu Asma, a 49-year-old Palestinian contractor from Hebron — was killed in a rocket strike on Ashkelon, while two Israelis were seriously wounded and around 50 people lightly hurt.

“Egypt’s efforts have been able to achieve a ceasefire between the resistance and the Zionist enemy,” the statement said.

“The resistance will respect this declaration as long as the Zionist enemy respects it.”

The escalation began as a Palestinian retaliation to a botched Israeli intelligence operation in Gaza on Saturday night tha ended with one Israeli officer and seven Hamas members dead.

It was clear throughout that both sides were anxious to return to the ceasefire that had begun only the previous week.

The Palestinian factions limited most of their fire to short-range mortar shells and rockets, and did not launch any of their medium-range rockets to Israeli targets further than twenty miles away from Gaza.

Meanwhile Israel’s airstrikes — which took out a number of significant Hamas targets in Gaza, including the movement’s television station and the headquarters of its internal security and military intelligence organisations — were limited to empty buildings and facilities.

In some cases, Israeli forces fired warning shots in advance to allow building to be evacuated.

November 13, 2018 17:23

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