(Gaza) A truce came into effect on Wednesday after 24 hours of firefights between armed groups in Gaza and Israel that claimed the life of a Palestinian, an outbreak of violence following the death of a striking Palestinian detainee from hunger.
Khader Adnane, an Islamic Jihad official who had been on a hunger strike for nearly three months in an Israeli prison, died on Tuesday, leading to rising tensions.
But, when an escalation was feared, the Palestinian movement announced a truce before dawn on Wednesday – Israel did not react.
“We managed to establish a lull and both sides responded to it,” an Egyptian security source told AFP, on condition of anonymity.
Qatar and the UN, other traditional mediators — along with Egypt — between Palestinians and Israelis, also intervened to achieve a return to calm from 4 a.m. (9 p.m. ET), sources said. Islamic Jihad and Hamas to AFP.
Rocket warning sirens sounded in Israeli communities near Gaza around 5:30 a.m. (10:30 p.m. Eastern Time), the army reported. According to witnesses in Gaza, several rockets were fired at Israeli soil.
But calm finally prevailed.
“This cycle of confrontation is over, but the march of resistance continues,” Islamic Jihad spokesman Tariq Salmi said in a statement.
In the morning, shops, schools and administrations reopened in Gaza. Life has also resumed in adjacent Israeli communities.
Adnane’s death was announced on Tuesday morning, but his remains have still not been handed over to his relatives. Originally from the occupied West Bank, this forties had started a hunger strike as soon as he was imprisoned on February 5. He became the first Palestinian detainee to die from it, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club.
The president of this association, Qaddoura Fares, told AFP that the Palestinian Authority had “yesterday (Tuesday) asked Israel to recover the body of Khader Adnane, without obtaining a response”.
“We emphasize, as we have told all the mediators who intervened, the need to hand over the body of the martyr Khader Adnane to his family,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said.
Adnane had been charged for his involvement in Islamic Jihad and for speeches in support of a “hostile organization”, an Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Imprisoned many times by Israel, he had gone on several hunger strikes and had become a symbol for the Palestinians.
The military appeals court had rejected his request for release, according to the Israeli official.
His death “is a tragic testament to Israel’s policies and cruel and inhuman detention practices”, reacted on Wednesday in a press release by independent UN experts, appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council. but speaking in their own name.
From Tuesday to Wednesday morning, some 100 rockets were fired by armed groups in Gaza, according to Islamic Jihad and the Israeli army.
Most of the projectiles fell into vacant lots or were intercepted by the air defense system, according to the IDF.
Two fell in the Israeli town of Sderot and three people were injured by shrapnel, rescue workers said.
Overnight, the Israeli army carried out several retaliatory strikes on Gaza, a territory under Israeli blockade since the takeover of Islamist Hamas in 2007. In particular, it said it had targeted a training camp, a weapons warehouse and an underground Hamas tunnel.
A 58-year-old man died north of Gaza City and five others were injured, according to the Palestinian Territory’s health ministry.
“We were sleeping when we heard a knock. A block of concrete fell on my father’s chest,” said Amir Mubarak, son of Hachel Mubarak, whose funeral took place in Gaza on Wednesday.
In August 2022, three days of clashes between Israel and Islamic Jihad caused the death of 49 Palestinians, including 12 members of Islamic Jihad according to the movement, and at least 19 children according to the UN. About 200 rockets were fired by Islamic Jihad from Gaza into Israel, injuring three.