After 2 Days of Fierce Fighting, Israel, Gaza-based Terrorists Reach Cease-fire
After two days of intensifying violence, Israel reportedly agreed to a cease-fire with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. Jerusalem did not immediately respond to the announcement by its foes, possibly to avoid a public backlash and insulate Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from widespread criticism related to his Gaza policy. However, early Monday morning, the Israeli army’s Home Front Command lifted all restrictions for residents along the shared border, a move all but confirming the sides indeed forged a United Nations- and Egyptian-mediated truce. Over the course of 48 hours, Gaza-based terrorists fired some 700 rockets at Israeli population centers, killing four civilians and wounding dozens more. For its part, the Israel Defense Forces struck over 300 Hamas and Islamic Jihad assets, including rocket launchers, weapon storehouses and manufacturing facilities, as well as the homes of numerous terrorist leaders. The Hamas-run Health Ministry said the air strikes killed at least 27 Palestinians between Saturday and Sunday and wounded hundreds more. For the first time in years, the Israeli security cabinet authorized the military to target specific individuals, prompting the assassination of a Hamas operative who acted as the main conduit for funneling Iranian funds to the enclave. International mediators did not disclose the details of the reported cease-fire, although precedents suggest that Hamas and Islamic Jihad agreed to end their rocket fire in exchange for the easing by Israel of restrictions on goods and humanitarian aid entering Gaza. Sources claimed that Netanyahu also green-lighted additional transfers of tens of millions of dollars of Qatari cash into Hamas coffers.