Gaza: crossing points open after a truce between Israel and Islamic Jihad
Fuel trucks entered the Gaza Strip on Monday morning, after a truce between Islamic Jihad and Israel came into force at the end of three days of hostilities that claimed the lives of 44 Palestinians in Israeli strikes on the enclave.
An AFP journalist saw fuel trucks entering through the Kerem Shalom goods crossing in the southern Gaza Strip. On Saturday, Gaza’s only power plant was shut down due to a fuel shortage.
The crossings between the Jewish State and the Gaza Strip, closed on Tuesday by Israel, were reopened “for humanitarian needs on Monday,” Cogat, the body of the Israeli Ministry of Defense that oversees civilian activities in the Palestinian Territories, announced in a statement.
“The return to routine will be made according to the developments in the situation and if safety is respected,” the statement added.
After this truce negotiated by Egypt, the historical intermediary between Israel and the Palestinians, the Jewish State also announced the resumption of rail traffic in the area near the Gaza Strip and allowed its citizens living in the villages bordering the Palestinian enclave to leave the shelters.
– Medicines, electricity –
On Sunday, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said that the truce would come into force at 23:30 local time, while stressing that his country “reserves the right to respond firmly to any violation”.
In Gaza, where it is based, the Islamic Jihad confirmed that it would “cease hostilities” from that hour, but also warned that it reserved “the right to respond to any (new) Israeli aggression”.
Joe Biden welcomed the ceasefire and thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for the role his country played in its negotiation. The US president also called for investigations to be carried out into civilian casualties, which he described as a “tragedy”.
The UN Envoy for the Near East Tor Wennesland welcomed the truce agreement on Twitter but affirmed “that the situation remains very fragile”.
The truce agreement provides, among other things, for Egypt’s “commitment to work for the release of two prisoners” from Islamic Jihad at the hands of Israel, the Palestinian group said.
On Sunday, seventeen Palestinians, including nine children, were killed in Israeli raids, in particular on Jabaliya, Gaza City and Rafah, said the Ministry of Health of the Palestinian armed movement Hamas, which has been in power in the enclave under Israeli blockade for more than fifteen years.
Since the start of the Israeli operation on Friday, “44 Palestinians have fallen as martyrs, including 15 children” and “360 have been injured,” according to the ministry, which also reported entire buildings destroyed in the strikes.
Three people have been injured in Israel by rocket fire since Friday, according to rescue workers. According to the army, hundreds of rockets have been fired from Gaza since Friday, the vast majority of which have been intercepted.
The Israeli authorities have also claimed that some Palestinians killed may have died because of failed Islamic Jihad rockets fired towards Israel, which fell in the Palestinian enclave.
In Gaza, the director of al-Shifa Hospital said that his facility urgently needed medicine and electricity.
– “Preventive attack” –
The Israeli army described its operation launched on Friday as a “pre-emptive attack” against Islamic Jihad, during which its main military leaders in Gaza, Tayssir Al-Jabari and Khaled Mansour, were killed along with several fighters of the group.
The death of the military leaders was confirmed by the Islamic Jihad, considered “terrorist” by Israel, the United States and the European Union.
The Israeli authorities justified their operation by their fears of reprisals by Islamic Jihad after the arrest of Bassem al-Saadi on August 1 in the West Bank, a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel.
In recent days, some 40 Islamic Jihad members have been arrested by Israeli forces in the West Bank.
The confrontation between Israel and Islamic Jihad is the worst since the one between Israel and Hamas in May 2021. The latter had caused 260 deaths on the Palestinian side in eleven days, including fighters and 14 deaths in Israel, including a soldier, according to local authorities.
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