February 6, 2023

The movement said that the truce between Israel and the Islamic Jihad movement in Gaza will enter into force on Sunday evening, after concluding an agreement with the help of Egyptian mediators.

The agreement raised hopes of ending the most serious escalation on the Gaza border in more than a year.

“We appreciate the Egyptian efforts that were made to end the Israeli aggression against our people,” Islamic Jihad spokesman Tariq Salmi said.

Clashes erupted for the first time between Israel and Islamic Jihad, the faction it is fighting in Gaza, on Friday.

Despite troubling world powers, the conflict has been relatively contained because Hamas, the Islamist group ruling the Gaza Strip and the most powerful force of the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad, has so far survived.

Gaza officials said 31 Palestinians, at least a third of them civilians, have been killed so far.

Israel said its Iron Dome defense system succeeded in intercepting 97 percent of rocket attacks against its cities after the Israeli army’s bombing of Palestinian targets at the weekend killed 31 people.

The Israeli army said that militants in Gaza fired about 580 rockets towards Israel, but its air defenses intercepted many of them, and two of them were fired at Jerusalem.

The rockets paralyzed much of southern Israel and sent residents of cities including Tel Aviv and Ashkelon to bomb shelters.

On Sunday morning, Islamic Jihad expanded its firing range towards Jerusalem in what it described as retaliation for Israel’s killing of its commander in southern Gaza overnight – the second senior officer Israel has lost in the fighting.

The Islamic Jihad movement said in a statement that the blood of the martyrs will not be lost.

Israel launched what it described as preemptive strikes on Friday against what it expected to be an Islamic Jihad attack aimed at retaliation for the arrest of a leader of the group in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli army said it bombed 11 Islamic Jihad rocket launch sites across the Gaza Strip on Sunday, and arrests against the group continued.

Israeli Security Minister Gideon Sa’ar said that hundreds of rockets fired by Islamic Jihad in response were the reason for the continuation of the operation.

“To the extent that Islamic Jihad wants to prolong this process, it will regret it,” he told Israel Army Radio.

Additional reporting by agencies

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