Israel and Palestinian Militant Group Reach Ceasefire After Weekend of Violence in Gaza

·2 min read
Smoke rises in Gaza City
Smoke rises in Gaza City

Nidal Alwaheidi/SOPA/Sipa/AP

An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad went into effect Sunday night following three days of violence and bombings within and around the Gaza Strip.

On Friday, airstrikes and rocket fire were exchanged between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, marking the most violent exchange in the region since the 11-day war between the Israeli government and Palestinian organization Hamas last May.

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In total, Gaza officials report 44 Palestinians were killed over the weekend, including many civilians and children, as well as Islamic Jihad leaders Taysir al-Jabari and Khaled Mansour. More than 360 Palestinians were injured, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

A Palestinian boy inspects damage outside a residential building in Gaza City August 8, 2022
A Palestinian boy inspects damage outside a residential building in Gaza City August 8, 2022

Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto/AP

Israel said it initiated the attacks based on threats of imminent attack from the Palestinian militant group, but did not provide concrete details.

Many southern Israeli residents spent time in shelters to avoid rocket fire, but no Israelis have been reported as killed. A majority of the rockets targeting Israel were intercepted by the nation's Iron Dome missile defense system, which is significantly funded by the United States.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid called the strike that killed Mansour "an extraordinary achievement," adding that "the operation will continue as long as necessary," as reported by the Associated Press.

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Israel's Iron Dome air defense system launches missiles to intercept rockets fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel
Israel's Iron Dome air defense system launches missiles to intercept rockets fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel

Adel Hana/AP

Palestinian Islamic Jihad differs from Hamas, the primary militant group and social service provider in Gaza, in popularity, size and priorities.

Hamas currently controls Gaza's government as the leading political organization, but remained on the sidelines of the weekend's fighting.

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On Monday, hours after the ceasefire was initiated, Israel reopened crossings into Gaza which provides access for humanitarian support. The sole power plant in Gaza also started back up. Residents in Gaza had been limited to only a few hours of electricity per day, making the summer heat particularly brutal.