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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Israel Agrees to Gaza Truce

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Israel agreed on Sunday to an Egyptian-brokered truce in Gaza, Reuters reported. It remains unclear whether the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) will accept the deal. The group continued to fire rockets into Israel as the news broke.

Egypt has “made contacts with everyone” to defuse the rapidly-escalating conflict between Israel and the PIJ, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Saturday, as an intelligence delegation from Cairo arrived in Israel.

Egyptian sources told Reuters on Sunday that the delegation had proposed a ceasefire beginning later in the evening, which the Israeli side agreed to. If the report is true, the PIJ’s leadership must now decide whether to accept the truce.

A source within the militant group told AFP that it is participating in ceasefire talks.

The PIJ stepped up its rocket attacks on Israel early Sunday afternoon, with air raid sirens sounding in Ashkelon and other settlements near the Jewish state’s border with Gaza, and some projectiles threatening the city of Beersheba.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claimed that the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted 97% of the roughly 500 rockets that made it out of Gaza over two days of fighting.

Israel’s military mission, Operation Breaking Dawn, began on Friday with an airstrike on the home of senior PIJ commander Taysir al-Jabari. Other strikes targeted the group’s observation posts, warehouses, and launch sites, while another senior PIJ commander was killed by an Israeli airstrike on Saturday night, the IDF stated on Sunday.

Israel has described its strikes as “targeted,” and said that Operation Breaking Dawn was launched amid the imminent threat of attack from the PIJ following the arrest of the group’s leader on Monday. However, Palestinian officials say that 31 people have been killed in Gaza – among them six children – while 265 Gazans have been wounded.

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