Egypt Sets Ceasefire in Gaza After Violent Night Ignited by ‘Jihad’ Movement
Egypt succeeded in setting a new truce in Gaza Strip on Saturday, following a violent night set by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Movement, which fired rockets at Israel, who responded with raids.
The exchange of rockets lasted for long hours and almost dragged the Strip into a new war.
PIJ Movement announced that it has reached for a ceasefire with Israel following Egyptian intervention.
"We informed the Egyptians that we will be committed to a ceasefire as long as Israel is committed to it," PIJ Spokesperson Dawoud Shihab said in a statement.
Egypt has made great efforts with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov to contain the situation that was triggered by sudden escalation decision by the PIJ.
PIJ Movement, one of the resistance groups that operate in Gaza, said it had fired the rockets in retaliation for Israel's killing of five Palestinian protesters on Friday. It said it can't stand idly while peaceful protesters are being killed.
Khaled al-Batsh, member of the movement’s political bureau, said that the attacks were the fulfillment of the promises made by PIJ to protect the return marches with their guns, break the siege and revenge for the blood of the martyrs.
"The occupation could not have been allowed to kill four peaceful demonstrators in Gaza and two in the occupied West Bank for taking part in peaceful popular marches without responding to the crimes," he said.
But the movement's rhetoric was neither convincing to Israel nor to Hamas, which refused PIJ’s initiative in such a confrontation.
Tel Aviv, for its part, accused Iran and Syria of being behind PIJ’s escalation.
"Islamic Jihad fired dozens of missiles at Israel under the guidance of Iran and Syria,” said Israeli Army spokesman Ronen Manelis. “These incidents show the dangers threatening the State of Israel," he stressed.
He confirmed that the Israeli army sent clear messages that it would respond inside and outside Gaza Strip on these rocket attacks.
“The priorities of the Israeli army in terms of threats have not changed. Iran and then its military presence in Syria top it, followed by thwarting Hezbollah's armament with precision rockets, Hamas threats and finally ISIS.”
Manelis said that Damascus and the Iranian Quds Force directed the Hamas rockets that recently targeted Israel.
"Clear messages were delivered to those who needed that delivery," the spokesman said, "nobody is immune, neither in Gaza Strip nor outside of it,” he stressed.