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Israel, Palestinian Islamist Group Reach Fragile Truce

Israel and the Gaza Strip-based Islamic Jihad reached a tentative truce to end 48 hours of fighting that began with the assassination of one of the Iranian proxy’s military commanders. During its operation, dubbed Black Belt, the Israel Defense Forces conducted dozens of strikes in the enclave, targeting the group’s military infrastructure and reportedly killing 25 terrorists along with 9 civilians. The IDF said 450 rockets had been launched toward Israel during the exchange, including some that reached the center of the country. A spokesperson for Islamic Jihad confirmed that the Egyptian and United Nations-brokered cease-fire went into effect at 5:30 a.m. local time, adding that as part of the agreement Israel agreed to halt targeted killings of the terror group’s leaders. The flare-up began early Tuesday after Israel killed Baha Abu al-Ata, described by the IDF as the “prime instigator” of terrorism from Gaza in recent months. “Everyone who was a top military official, who was set to carry out and was involved in terror or rocket firing against Israel, was eliminated,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in reference to the IDF’s two-day operation. For his part, the UN’s chief Israeli-Palestinian mediator tweeted shortly after the violence subsided: “The coming hours and days will be critical. ALL must show maximum restraint and do their part to prevent bloodshed. The #Middle East does not need more wars.”