Gaza calm as truce deal takes hold

2012-10-25 14:02

Jerusalem - Calm returned to Gaza on Thursday as a truce between Israel and Hamas took hold after a bloody 24 hours of violence that left four Palestinians dead and two Thai workers wounded in Israel.

With the Eid al-Adha festival due to start on Friday, Gazans were enjoying a quiet day of preparation without air strikes, and Israelis were making the most of the respite in rocket fire.

Following a quiet night in which there were no reports of Israeli raids or militant rocket fire on southern Israel, schools re-opened in southern Israel and Palestinians went back to work.

During the morning, the military reported that one rocket had landed in an open area without causing injuries or damage, but had no knowledge of three rockets being fired shortly after dawn, as was claimed in a statement by the Gaza-based Mujahedeen Brigades.

And the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza was reopened, as was the Hamas-run checkpoint leading to the border in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanun, officials said.

Late on Wednesday, Israeli and Palestinian officials said an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire would go into effect at midnight (local time).

Multi-million dollar project

The agreement was aimed at ending an eruption of bloodshed, which saw Israeli air strikes kill four militants and armed groups firing more than 70 rockets and mortars across the border, seriously wounding two Thai workers.

Among those firing on Israel was the armed wing of Gaza's ruling Islamist Hamas movement - the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades - which said three of the dead were its own militants.

A fourth man was from the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), which also claimed to have fired rockets at Israel.

The surge in violence began on Tuesday evening, shortly after a top-level state visit to Gaza by the Qatari emir to inaugurate a multi-million dollar project to rebuild the impoverished Palestinian enclave.

During the evening, militants fired six rockets at Israel and in response Israeli aircraft killed two Hamas militants in raids on northern Gaza, prompting a further wave of rocket fire.

An early-morning Israeli raid near southern city of Rafah on Wednesday killed a third militant - from the PRC - and another Hamas militant who was hurt in Tuesday night's strikes died of his injuries later, medics said.

"Hamas will receive its punishment for what has happened here," Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said on Wednesday, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also warned that any continuation of rocket fire would prompt a "much more extensive" Israeli response.

Gaza's Hamas government issued a statement "condemning the Zionist aggression against the Gaza Strip", and warning of its consequences.

  • bram.camina - 2012-10-25 16:44

    "Hamas will receive its punishment for what has happened here" - The problem I have with this is that it's not Hamas who will suffer, it'll be innocent people (more Palestinians) who will suffer. The Israelis have to stop dehumanizing these people; I met a hasid (religious Jew) recently, who lives in Tel Aviv; he told me that the Palestinians are all just a bad bunch - an awful thing to say!

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-10-25 20:36

      What is really aweful is your twisted reasoning. The Gaza Palestinians voted in Hamas based on their hostile and violent opposition to Israel's existence. If Hamas attacks israel from civilian positions, then civilians will be harmed, not by Israel, but as a direct result of Hamas actions. It is called perfidy, and Hamas practice it without a care for their civilian women and children's lives, because the value in their deaths that inform your misguided logic, is greater than the value of the lives of their own innocent people. Perfidy is a war crime, and you allow it by blaming the wrong side.

      richard.bosmano - 2012-10-26 08:53

      Bram , search you tube for palestinian kindergarden shows. YOU WILL BE SHOCKED at the vile hate fueled garbage they make for their kids to watch. They raising their kids to hate the jews , but i guess that's what their religion teaches them to do

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