Israel's response to truce to be 'watched'

2011-08-26 19:30
Gaza City - A Gaza militant leader said on Friday that his Islamic Jihad group will be watching Israel's response to the latest attempt at a cease fire, following more than a week of hostilities with Israel.

Muhammed Al-Hindi, a leader of the Palestinian faction, said the Egyptian-mediated truce went into effect on Friday.

It's the second attempt to end more than a week of hostilities. The escalation began with an incursion by militants, apparently from Gaza, who crossed on August 18 into southern Israel from Egypt and killed eight Israelis.

A cease-fire late on Sunday dissolved with rocket fire from Gaza on southern Israel and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes, in which two dozen Palestinians and one Israeli were killed.

"We are evaluating and monitoring the commitment of the occupation government to the cease-fire," said Al-Hindi, adding that Israel "carries full responsibility for the latest escalation, and for any future violations of this cease-fire."

There was no immediate Israeli government reaction.

Key factions agreed

A Hamas official said early on Friday all key factions had agreed to the latest truce and that the Gaza government and Egypt were trying to get smaller Palestinian factions on board as well.

Hours earlier, an Israeli airstrike killed two Palestinian militants in Gaza following a salvo of rocket attacks on Israel. Palestinian officials said the two were members of Islamic Jihad.

The Israeli military confirmed the airstrike, saying two militants were targeted after they fired mortar shells toward an Israeli border crossing, damaging it.

More than 15 rockets and mortar shells were fired toward Israel on Thursday, the military said.

Two shells hit the border crossing between Israel and Gaza, cutting off electricity and trapping a Palestinian woman and her baby inside the border terminal. An Israeli military commander said he took them to a protected area of the crossing and waited for mortar fire to subside before allowing them to cross into Gaza an hour later.

- AP
Read more on:    palestine  |  gaza  |  israel  |  middle east peace
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