Israel’s foreign minister said on Thursday morning that his country does not accept a cease-fire announced by Gaza’s militant Islamic Jihad group a few hours earlier.
They will, however, stop offenses, provided that militants in Gaza do not attack Israel.
“Quiet will be answered with quiet,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz told Army Radio.
“The State of Israel will not hesitate to strike at those who try to harm it, from the Gaza Strip or from anywhere else.”
The cease-fire was reportedly brokered by Egypt and was announced by Islamic Jihad spokesman Musab al-Berim early on Thursday morning, effective as of 5.30 a.m. local time (0330 UTC/GMT).
After the cease-fire, two rockets were fired and set off airstrikes in southern Israel.
Who agreed the cease-fire?
It has been over 48 hours since violence began when Israel killed a senior commander of the group.
The cease-fire was based on a series of demands by Islamic Jihad, most notably an end to targeted killings, a halt in Israeli shootings of protesters at weekly demonstrations along the Israeli border and easing a 12-year-old Israeli blockade that has devastated Gaza’s economy.
The “ceasefire agreement comes as a result of Egypt’s efforts” and has been endorsed by “Palestinian factions including Islamic Jihad,” said a top Egyptian official.
Palestinian officials report that 34 people in Gaza have died in the airstrikes in the last two days, while Islamic Jihad fired 400 rockets at Israel. At least 97 Palestinians were injured.
ed/aw (Reuters, AP)
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