Egyptian Intelligence officials have successfully brokered an end to the current round of escalation in the south, Ynet learned Sunday. No Israeli source has corroborated the report.
Israel and the Gaza-based terror groups have been exchanging fire since Saturday night following a border attack near Karni crossing, which left four soldiers seriously wounded.
- Rockets pound south; 2 homes hit
- Gaza: Anti-tank missile hits IDF jeep; 4 soldiers injured
- Rocket salvo hits south; IAF strikes Gaza
Over 100 Qassam rockets, mortar shells and Grads were fired at Israel in the span of 24 hours, causing property damage but luckily not fatalities. The IAF struck several terror hubs in the Strip.
Running for cover in Ashkelon (Photo: AFP)
According to senior Egyptian sources, both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have agreed to hold their fire if Israel suspends its airstrike on Gaza.
Cairo-based sources said that Israel reportedly agreed not to retaliate over sporadic rocket fire from Gaza, as long as it was sans casualties; adding that the UN's special envoy to the Middle East Robert Serry was also part of the efforts to broker a ceasefire.
According to Egyptian intelligence sources, Hamas officials approached Cairo on Saturday and asked it to mediate an armistice.
Damage in Gaza (Photo: Reuters)
Gaza's rulers reportedly stressed before Egypt that they were not interested in any further escalation vis-à-vis Israel.
Egyptian Ambassador to the Palestinian Authority Yasser Othman said Sunday that Egypt was "making considerable efforts to stop the escalation and establish a lull.
"Egypt's efforts to stop the Palestinian bloodshed are part of its historical role in regards to the Palestinian people."
The Islamic Jihad initially denied that any truce was reached. "No one approached us about a ceasefire. We will continue to retaliate against the Israeli aggression," a Jihad spokesman said.
Gaza rocket fire
But a Palestinian media outlet affiliated with the Islamic Jihad later reported that the organization has agreed to abide by the armistice.
Palestinian sources said that the next few hours would be critical to the viability of the lull, adding that during the negotiations, both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad demanded that Israel cease all surgical strikes.
"Hamas and Jihad stressed that they have the right to retaliate over any Israeli violation of the truce," a Palestinian source said.
You can contact Elior Levy, Ynet's Palestinian Affairs Correspondent, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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