Israel launched fresh strikes against Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza early yesterday in response to rocket fire, underscoring the fragility of a ceasefire agreed after an escalation that killed 34 Palestinians.
No Israelis were killed. Israeli medics said they had treated 63 people as of Wednesday night for mild injuries and stress.
The ceasefire began on Thursday morning following two days of fighting triggered by Israel’s targeted killing of an Islamic Jihad commander.
The Israeli military said it carried out new strikes overnight against Islamic Jihad, the second most powerful Palestinian militant group in the Gaza Strip after Hamas.
They came after at least seven rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza, two of which were intercepted by air defences.
Two wounded Palestinians were being treated in hospital in the southern part of the territory, according to the health ministry in Gaza.
The ceasefire brokered by Egyptian and UN officials, the usual mediators between Gaza and Israel, was agreed as the flare-up raised fears of a new all-out conflict.
To keep a lid on tensions, Palestinians cancelled weekly protests along the Gaza-Israeli border that have often led to violence since March 2018. At least 311 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza or the border area since then, most of them during demonstrations and associated clashes.
ISRAEL TO PROBE CIVILIAN ATTACKS
Meanwhile, Israel’s military yesterday said it would investigate unanticipated civilian casualties in a strike the previous day on an Islamic Jihad target in the Gaza Strip. It said, according to information, no civilian was expected to be harmed at the time of the attack.
Israel hit the home of Rasmi Abu Malhous, who it described as an Islamic Jihad commander, early on Thursday before a truce between the sides went into force. The strike killed him, five children and two women, according to the Palestinian health ministry in the strip, where the Islamist Hamas movement rules.
Islamic Jihad is the second most powerful Palestinian militant group in Gaza after Hamas.