Gaza ceasefire holds after days of violence

A ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip appears to be holding.

The Egypt-brokered truce followed three days of violence, with Israel targeting the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and militants firing rockets into Israel.

At least 44 Palestinians died in the most serious flare-up since an 11-day conflict in May 2021.

On Monday, Israel began lifting its blockade of the Strip, allowing the first fuel tanks to enter.

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The latest violence began with attacks by Israel on sites in the Gaza Strip, which its military said was in response to threats from a militant group. It followed days of tensions after Israel arrested a senior PIJ member in the occupied West Bank.

By Sunday evening, the Palestinian health ministry said that 15 children had been confirmed among the 44 deaths recorded.

Gaza’s health ministry has blamed “Israeli aggression” for the deaths of Palestinians and for the more than 300 people wounded.

Israel, for its part, said it hit 170 PIJ targets during the operation, codenamed Breaking Dawn, killing several high-ranking PIJ members and destroying tunnels and weapon storage sites.

A spokesman for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said they had information about 35 Palestinian deaths: “11 of them were uninvolved civilian casualties, including the wives of the terror groups’ commanders in the south – victims of the IDF attacks.”

“Another 15 civilians were killed by PIJ fire,” Brig Gen Ran Kochav said.

Gen Kochav said 1,100 projectiles were fired from the Gaza Strip during the flare-up, with 200 landing inside Gaza.

He said more Palestinians had died from those rockets that exploded inside the Strip than from IDF fire, and added that Israel would investigate the deaths of civilians, including children.

No Israeli casualties have been reported, with the exception of a few people lightly injured from debris on Saturday.

The ceasefire was mediated by Egypt, which has acted as an intermediary between Israel and Gaza in the past.

But as it came into effect late on Sunday, the Israeli military confirmed it was striking Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) targets in Gaza in response to rockets fired just before. Israeli media also reported some isolated rocket fire from Gaza in the minutes after the deadline. -BBC

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