Israel has reopened its border crossings to the Gaza Strip following the agreed ceasefire. After assessing the security situation, the Erez border crossing and the Kerem Shalom goods crossing are open again, the Israeli Coordination Center for Activities in the Palestinian Territories (COGAT) announced on Monday. According to a spokeswoman, the first fuel tanks and humanitarian supplies crossed the border in the morning.
The power supply in the coastal area was reduced from twelve to four hours on Saturday due to a lack of fuel. The Palestinian Ministry of Health then warned against stopping medical care.
Israel closed the crossings last Monday after arresting an Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank. This was justified with the concern of attacks. A few days later there was a violent conflict between the Israeli armed forces and the militant Palestinian organization. An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire came into effect late Sunday evening.
Shortly before the ceasefire came into force, the Israeli army carried out airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, and there was another air alert in Israel.
Alarm sirens had also gone off in the Israeli coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv. Residents of the Mediterranean city rushed to shelters. Dull explosions could be heard. It was the first such alert in the city center since Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip began on Friday. Most recently, there were rocket attacks on Tel Aviv last year. In the hours after the agreement went into effect, things remained quiet.
In announcing the ceasefire, Israel and Islamic Jihad thanked neighboring Egypt for mediating in the conflict. However, Islamic Jihad stressed its right to respond to any new “aggression” by Israel. The Israeli government also warned that Israel “reserves the right” to react harshly to any violation of the agreement.
The Israeli military launched the “Dawn” military operation with airstrikes against Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip on Friday. The Palestinian militants then fired more than 900 rockets at Israel. The group, which is closely linked to Israel’s arch-enemy Iran, has been classified as a terrorist organization by the EU and the US.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, more than 44 people have died in the Gaza Strip since Friday and at least 360 have been injured.
Israeli Prime Minister Jair Lapid spoke of a “precise anti-terrorist operation against an immediate threat”. Islamic Jihad is an “assistance force of Iran that wants to destroy the State of Israel and kill innocent Israelis”. According to the Israeli army, their attacks hit 139 Islamic Jihad positions. The entire top of Islamic Jihad’s military wing in the Gaza Strip has been “neutralized.”
According to Israeli sources, 40 members of Islamic Jihad, including two leaders of the radical organization, were arrested in raids in the West Bank in parallel with the air strikes on the Gaza Strip.
In Israel, two people were injured by rocket splinters as a result of the shelling from the Gaza Strip, according to the rescue service. Another 13 people were injured trying to get to safety.
Among other things, air raid sirens sounded on Sunday morning for the first time since the new escalation in Jerusalem, around 60 kilometers from the Gaza Strip, and Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for rocket attacks on the city. According to the Israeli army, the Israeli missile protection shield Iron Dome intercepted the missiles, and overall this was successful with 97 percent of the missiles.
The federal government has expressed concern about the recent escalation of violence in the Middle East. The developments in the Gaza Strip and in Israel are “reason for great concern,” said a spokeswoman for the Federal Foreign Office on Sunday. “We condemn in the strongest terms the rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns; he must stop immediately.”
Like any other state, Israel can invoke the right to self-defense, the spokeswoman underlined. “Civilians must never be the target of attacks.” It is now necessary “to prevent further escalation and to maintain the greatest possible restraint and the proportionality required under international law,” the spokeswoman warned at the same time.
Israel’s army says it has killed another military chief of the militant Palestinian organization Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. Islamic Jihad’s southern commander Khalid Mansur was killed in an airstrike in the city of Rafah, the military said Sunday morning. Two other senior jihadists were also killed, including Mansur’s deputy.
“In the past few days, Mansur has been working on preparing an attack on Israel with an anti-tank missile and missiles,” the statement said. He is also responsible for terrorist attacks in the past.
On Friday evening, Israeli forces killed the military chief of the extremist Palestinian organization Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the Gaza Strip, Taisir al-Jabari. According to the military, the high-ranking commander was responsible for numerous attacks from the Gaza Strip. Militant Palestinians then responded with rocket fire.
The Islamic Jihad organization threatened retaliation for the deaths of the two senior commanders, stating: “The blood of the martyrs will not be wasted, and the holy warriors will not let that blood dry until they have bombarded the enemy’s settlements with their rockets.”
According to Palestinian sources, the only power plant in the Gaza Strip was temporarily shut down due to a lack of fuel. “Due to the current circumstances and the lack of fuel, the power plant has been shut down,” the electricity company said in Gaza on Saturday.
The power supply in the Palestinian territory will therefore be reduced from twelve to four hours. Israel stopped importing fuel into the area on Monday, fearing attacks after the arrest of a Palestinian militant leader.
A power company official said the shutdown of the power plant would create a “catastrophic situation” in the Gaza Strip. The area had previously suffered from insufficient electricity. According to this, around 550 megawatts of electricity are needed every day to cover the needs of the approximately two million inhabitants. Most recently, however, only 180 megawatts were available.
The Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip are to occupy the UN Security Council in New York on Monday. Diplomatic circles announced on Saturday that a meeting of the United Nations’ most powerful body had been requested by the United Arab Emirates, Ireland, France, Norway and China. A time has not yet been set. The meeting will take place behind closed doors.