Conflicts & War

Israel, Gaza agree to ceasefire after intense rocket exchange

Jerusalem, May 3 (EFE).- Israel and the Palestinian armed groups operating in the Gaza Strip agreed to a ceasefire on Wednesday, Palestinian officials announced, after almost 24 hours of Palestinian rocket attacks and retaliatory airstrikes by Israel.

Egypt and Qatar, as well as the United Nations, mediated the ceasefire between the Israelis and Palestinians.

The Israeli military launched air attacks on Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Wednesday in response to the 104 rockets fired at Israel. The exchange of rockets followed the death of prominent Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan.

A 58-year-old Palestinian man died and five others were wounded in the strip, Gaza health ministry said. In Israel, three people sustained injuries.

The rocket fire toward Israel between Tuesday and Wednesday broke out after Adnan, a high-ranking member of the militant Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, died in Israeli custody after a hunger strike that lasted almost three months.

Twenty-four projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, 14 exploded within the strip, 11 fell into the sea and 48 landed in uninhabited areas, according to the Israeli army.

Israeli strikes hit training camps, weapons manufacturing sites and underground tunnels belonging to Hamas, the Islamic movement that has ruled Gaza since 2007.

The barrage was the largest number of rockets fired from Gaza so far this year and was even larger than the three days of intense exchanges of fire between Islamic Jihad and Israel that left dozens of people dead in Gaza last August.

The Resistance Chamber for Joint Operations, which brings together all armed groups operating in Gaza, including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, said the barrage of rockets was fired to avenge the death of the 44-year-old Adnan, who was repeatedly arrested by Israel and undertook five separate hunger strikes.

The last hunger strike that he began on February 5 was in protest against his detention over his alleged membership of a terrorist organization, terrorism and inciting violence.

Elsewhere, Israeli forces on Wednesday demolished the family homes of two Palestinians accused of carrying out fatal attacks against Israelis last year in the occupied West Bank.

Soldiers and Israel Border Police personnel flattened Mohamed Tzuf’s house in Haris town for allegedly conducting an attack that left three people dead and four others injured in November 2022, according to the army.

The family home of Palestinian Younis Hilan in Hajja town was also bulldozed over the alleged stabbing of an Israeli citizen in October last year.

Clashes with Palestinian locals erupted during both operations, with stones being thrown at soldiers who responded with “riot dispersal means,” a military spokesman said.

These demolitions come as tensions have been running high between Israelis and Palestinians for months, amid repeated clashes between both sides in volatile West Bank cities.

Israel regularly demolishes family houses of Palestinians accused of launching deadly attacks in the West Bank, a policy that human rights groups denounce as a form of collective punishment.

The Israeli authorities, meanwhile, say it is a measure to deter further attacks, while prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government has been taking steps toward approving other punitive measures against the families of Palestinian attackers.

The wave of violence has so far this year left at least 102 Palestinians dead, mostly militiamen in clashes between Israeli troops, but also civilians, including 20 children.

On the Israeli side, 19 civilian victims of attacks have died, most of them settlers, including three children. EFE


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