Israel, Islamic Jihad Halt Attacks after Exchange of Fire Overnight
A tenuous quiet prevailed in the Gaza Strip and Israel on Friday after Israel said that it had ended airstrikes on Islamic Jihad targets in the strip. In a statement Friday morning, the Israeli military said it hit a military compound, a rocket-manufacturing site and an Islamic Jihad headquarters in Khan Yunis overnight, and that airstrikes would not resume as long the Palestinian group holds its fire. The Israeli attacks were in response to Islamic Jihad’s launching of a barrage of rockets into Israel on Thursday night. Hamas, which rules the strip, called off weekly protests on Friday along the territory’s border with Israel, apparently to preserve calm. The Egyptian-brokered cease-fire began early Thursday after the sides exchanged fire for two days following Israel’s killing of the Islamic Jihad’s commander in Gaza and its targeting of an official of the Iran-backed group at his Damascus home. The truce was soon broken by further rocket fire from Gaza, which may have been an expression of popular dissatisfaction with the terms of the informal agreement. The fighting over the past few days killed 34 Palestinians and wounded more than 100 and sent Israelis throughout much of the south and center of the country into bomb shelters as members of the Palestinian group fired more than 450 rockets at Israel.