(Gaza) A truce was announced in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after a 24-hour exchange of fire between armed groups and Israel left one Palestinian dead and several injured, Palestinian sources reported.
This new outbreak of violence comes after the death on Tuesday of Khader Adnane, an official of the Islamic Jihad organization who had been on a hunger strike for nearly three months in an Israeli prison.
After 24 hours raising fears of an escalation, Islamic Jihad announced a truce before dawn on Wednesday. Israel, for its part, did not react.
“We managed to establish a lull and both sides responded to it from this (Wednesday) morning,” an Egyptian security source also told AFP, on condition of anonymity.
Qatar and the UN, other traditional mediators, with Egypt, between Palestinian organizations and Israel, also intervened to obtain a return to calm, from 4 a.m. (9 p.m. Eastern time), declared Islamic Jihad and Hamas sources told AFP.
However, rocket warning sirens sounded in Israeli communities near Gaza at around 5:30 a.m. (10:30 p.m. Eastern Time), the army said.
According to witnesses in Gaza, several rockets were fired at Israeli soil at this time.
“This cycle of confrontation is over, but the march of resistance continues and will not stop,” said Tariq Salmi, spokesperson for Islamic Jihad, 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 40-year-old went on a hunger strike from the start of his incarceration on February 5 and 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.
Since Tuesday, some 100 rockets have been 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 in the raids, according to the Palestinian Territory’s health ministry.
“We were sleeping when we heard a knock. A concrete block fell on my father’s chest after the roof was hit,” said Amir Mubarak, son of Hashel Mubarak, whose funeral was held Wednesday in Gaza City.
The head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell underlined the EU’s commitment to Israel’s right to defend itself, but recalled that “ any response ” had to “ be proportionate and in accordance with international law ”, during a meeting in Brussels with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.
In August 2022, three days of clashes between Israel and Islamic Jihad left 49 Palestinians dead, 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.