GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) A fragile cease-fire deal to get rid of nearly three days of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza held into Monday morning an indicator the most recent round of violence could have abated.
The flare-up was the worst fighting between Israel and Gaza militant groups since Israel and Gazas Hamas rulers fought an 11-day war this past year, increasing the destruction and misery which have plagued blockaded Gaza for a long time.
Since Friday, Israeli aircraft had pummeled targets in Gaza as the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group fired a huge selection of rockets at Israel.
Over three days of fighting, 44 Palestinians were killed, including 15 children and four women, and 311 were wounded, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. Islamic Jihad said 12 of these killed were militants and Israel said a few of the dead were killed by misfired rockets.
Israel on Monday said it had been partially reopening crossings into Gaza for humanitarian needs and would fully open them if calm was maintained. Fuel trucks were seen entering a cargo crossing for the very first time since crossings with the strip were closed the other day, prompting a fuel shortage that ground Gazas lone power plant to a halt on Saturday. The plant was set to resume full operations later Monday. Gaza is suffering from a chronic power crisis.
Life for thousands of Israelis was disrupted through the violence. Security precautions imposed in recent days on residents of southern Israel were being gradually lifted Monday, the military said.
Both sides boasted of these successes. Talking with reporters in Tehran on Sunday, Islamic Jihad leader Ziad al-Nakhalah said the militant group remained strong, despite losing two of its leaders. It is a victory for Islamic Jihad, he said.
Even though claim, the group undoubtedly sustained a blow during Israels fierce offensive. Beyond losing both leaders, it reduced its arsenal by firing a huge selection of rockets without striking an individual Israeli, because of Israels missile immune system that shot many of them down. Its rockets could have killed several Gazans, in accordance with Israel.
The cease-fire deal contained a promise that Egypt works for the release of two senior Islamic Jihad detainees held by Israel, but there have been no guarantees this might happen. The weekend fighting was also bound to complicate Islamic Jihads relations with Hamas.
A senior Israeli diplomatic official said the offensive had taken Islamic Jihads capabilities back decades. The flareup was an effective counterterrorism operation because Israel achieved its goals in a short time period. he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he had not been authorized to go over the operation with the media.
The violence had threatened to spiral into another all-out war but finished up being contained because Gazas ruling Hamas group stayed on the sidelines, possibly since it fears Israeli reprisals and undoing economic understandings with Israel, including Israeli work permits for a large number of Gaza residents, that bolster its control on the coastal strip.
Israel and Hamas have fought four wars because the group took over the territory in 2007.
Israel launched its operation with a strike Friday on a leader of the Islamic Jihad, saying there have been concrete threats of an anti-tank missile attack against Israelis in reaction to the arrest the other day of another senior Islamic Jihad member in the West Bank. That arrest came after months of Israeli raids in the West Bank to gather suspects carrying out a spate of Palestinian attacks against Israel.
It killed another Islamic Jihad leader in a strike on Saturday.
Israel said a few of the deaths in this round were due to errant militant rocket fire, including one incident in the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza where six Palestinians were killed Saturday. On Sunday, a projectile hit a house in exactly the same section of Jebaliya, killing two men. Palestinians held Israel responsible, while Israel said it had been investigating if the area was struck by an errant rocket.
In the occupied West Bank on Monday, Israeli troops demolished the homes of two Palestinians suspected of conducting a deadly attack against Israelis in the town of Elad in-may. The soldiers faced a violent protest through the operation, the military said.
The outburst of violence in Gaza was an integral test for Israels caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who lacks experience leading military operations. Still, he unleashed the offensive significantly less than 90 days before an over-all election where he could be campaigning to help keep the work.
President Joe Biden said he welcomed the cease-fire between Israel and Gaza-based militants.
Of these last 72-hours, america spent some time working with officials from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, among others through the entire region to encourage a swift resolution to the conflict, he said in a statement Sunday.
The U.N. Security Council was to carry a crisis meeting Monday on the violence. China, which holds the council presidency this month, scheduled the session in reaction to a request from the United Arab Emirates, which represents Arab nations on the council, along with China, France, Ireland and Norway.
We underscore our commitment to accomplish all we are able to towards ending the ongoing escalation, ensuring the security and safety of the civilian population, and following-up on the Palestinian prisoners file, said U.N. Special Coordinator for the center East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, in a statement.
The Israeli army said militants in Gaza fired about 1,100 rockets toward Israel, with about 200 of these landing in the Palestinian enclave. The army said its air defenses had intercepted 380 of these, including two fired toward Jerusalem. The military didn’t specify what happened to the rest, however they likely fell in open areas or split up in the air.
Islamic Jihad has fewer fighters and supporters than Hamas, and little is well known about its arsenal. Both groups demand Israels destruction, but have different priorities, with Hamas constrained by the demands of governing.
Hamas had a solid incentive in order to avoid another war. Last years Israel-Hamas war, among four major conflicts, and many smaller battles during the last 15 years, have exacted an astounding toll on the impoverished territorys 2.3 million Palestinian residents.
In the last year, Israel and Hamas reach tacit understandings predicated on trading calm for work permits and hook easing of the border blockade, imposed by Israel and Egypt when Hamas took over the territory 15 years back. Israel has issued 12,000 work permits to Gaza laborers, and contains held out the chance of granting another 2,000 permits.
Goldenberg reported from Tel Aviv, Israel. Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer at the US contributed to the report.