World View: Islamic Jihad Agrees to Egypt-Sponsored Ceasefire in Gaza

The Associated Press

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Islamic Jihad agrees to Egypt-sponsored ceasefire in Gaza after night of terror
  • Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) accepts the Egyptian-mediated ceasefire

Islamic Jihad agrees to Egypt-sponsored ceasefire in Gaza after night of terror

Smoke rises from an Israeli bombardment in Gaza on Saturday (AP)
Smoke rises from an Israeli bombardment in Gaza on Saturday (AP)

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) said that it has agreed to a ceasefire with Israel mediated by Egypt after a Friday night of terror.

During Friday night, 34 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza, according to the Israeli military. It is believed that the rockets were launched by Islamic Jihad, a terror group in Gaza that is a separate entity from Hamas. Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system is said to have intercepted 13 of the 34 rockets. No Israelis were reported injured by the rocket attacks.

In response, Israeli air force missile attacks struck 80 targets across Gaza on Saturday morning, including Hamas’s new headquarters for General Security Services. Gaza officials say that nine Palestinians were wounded in one of the Israeli attacks and a hospital was badly damaged.

Gaza is under siege by both Israel and Egypt. Hamas, the nominally ruling government in Gaza, has disavowed the rocket activity and blames PIJ for sabotaging attempts to broker a long-term truce that would lift the siege. However, Israel holds Hamas responsible for all rocket attacks on Israel. Al Jazeera and Asharq Al-Awsat (Saudi Arabia) and CNN

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) accepts the Egyptian-mediated ceasefire

PIJ official Khaled al-Batsh said that the rocket attacks were made in revenge for Israeli attacks on Gazans:

The occupation could not have been allowed to kill four peaceful demonstrators in Gaza and two in the occupied West Bank for taking part in peaceful popular marches without responding to the crimes.

However, an Israeli army spokesman said that Iran and Syria were behind the rocket attacks: “Islamic Jihad fired dozens of missiles at Israel under the guidance of Iran and Syria. These incidents show the dangers threatening the State of Israel.”

PIJ was formed in the late 1970s and was inspired by Iran’s Islamic Revolution. PIJ and Hamas are both Sunni Muslim terror organizations, but PIJ has always had a much closer relationship with Iran than Hamas has had.

Israeli security officials believe that PIJ receives money and weapons from Iran and takes orders from Iran. These officials believe that Iran was influenced by two events in the last week to order PIJ to make the rocket attacks.

One event was a surprise visit by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Oman, meeting Oman’s leader Sultan Qaboos. This meeting came shortly after a similar meeting by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Sultan Qaboos’ objective was to initiate a new dialog between the two parties, which might have shut Iran and Hamas out.

The second event was word that Hamas and Egypt have finally agreed to the terms to restore calm in Gaza, more or less under the same parameters put in place after 2014 summer war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

PIJ has its own reasons to launch the rocket attacks – unlike Hamas, it opposes any peace negotiations with Israel.

However, under pressure from Hamas and Egypt, PIJ agreed to the ceasefire, and there were no more rocket or missile attacks on Saturday or Sunday. According to a PIJ spokesman:

After contacts between the Islamic Jihad leadership and the brothers in Egypt it was agreed that a comprehensive ceasefire will begin immediately. The Islamic Jihad will abide by the ceasefire if the occupation (Israel) does the same.

Israel has threatened further attacks on Iranian targets Syria if the rocket attacks resume. Ynet (Israel) and Akhbrna News (Cairo)

Related Articles:

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Gaza, Hamas, Egypt, Israel, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, PIJ, Islamic Jihad, Oman, Sultan Qaboos, Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, Benjamin Netanyahu, Khaled al-Batsh
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