Following the major flare-up in fighting between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), which saw Israel launch days of airstrikes on Gaza starting Friday, a delicate ceasefire appears to be holding Monday.
"An Egypt-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian factions came into effect at 11:30pm local time (8:30pm GMT) on Sunday," Middle East Eye reports. "Israel’s assault on Gaza, which began on Friday, has left 44 Palestinians dead, including 15 children, and injured hundreds more."
On the Israeli side, three civilians have been reported injured by shrapnel from rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, after hundreds were launched by PIJ and Hamas through the weekend.
"Twelve hours in, the ceasefire appeared to holding, as residents of the besieged Palestinian enclave began to clear rubble and continued to mourn the dead," Middle East Eye continues.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that over 350 rockets were launched from the strip within merely the first two days of the conflict. Israel's response, dubbed 'Operation Breaking Dawn', reportedly took out at least two top Islamic Jihad commanders.
By the time Sunday's ceasefire took effect, the IDF updated its tally to a whopping 1,100+ rockets fired by PIJ over the prior three days. Many of these fell short, landing in Gaza itself, but others were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system. Central Israel came under threat along with southern towns, causing emergency alarms to blare in Tel Aviv through much of the weekend.
Like with past Israeli air assaults on the densely populated Gaza Strip, the past 48 hours have seen widespread reports of the deaths of small children as well as women. Additionally some 300 Gazans have been reported wounded, while the IDF is stressing that it takes great care to avoid civilian casualties as it attacks the small strip of land that includes some 2.3 million Palestinians living there.
These scenes document the impact of the policy Israeli warlords proudly refer to as “mowing the lawn,” whereby the besieged civilian population of Gaza is set against the blades of Israel’s US-supplied military machine and brought down to size. pic.twitter.com/CVp4o7aXcE— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) August 8, 2022
But according to the Times of Israel, Israeli leaders are blaming the deaths of some of the children on Islamic Jihad itself, saying that at least one large explosion was caused by their own rockets misfiring:
Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s international spokesperson, Keren Hajioff, releases an English-language video statement stressing that an explosion that killed several Gazans tonight, including children, was caused by a rocket fired by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group that misfired and landed inside the Strip.
"Tonight, Islamic Jihad terrorists fired a rocket towards Israel which fell short inside Gaza, hitting a Palestinian home in the Jabaliya neighborhood and tragically killing at least four children," she says. "There is video documenting the entire thing. There was no Israeli activity in the Gaza Strip, in that area or at that time."
In a somewhat unprecedented bit of public relations, Israel's military has published multiple videos which it says demonstrates the extreme care the IDF is taking to avoid hitting Palestinian civilians. The official IDF twitter account, for example, has of late placed great emphasis on this...
Watch what happened when the Israeli Air Force spotted a civilian next to an Islamic Jihad terrorist target in Gaza: pic.twitter.com/1noCdo1cH5— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) August 7, 2022
The Palestinian side is contesting this version of events, stressing it remains the Israeli aggression that is killing civilians.
Meanwhile in Washington Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Menendez issued a statement of firm US support for Israel in the Operation Breaking Dawn mission to degrade and destroy Islamic Jihad.
"Israel has every right to self-defense from Iranian-backed terrorists committed to annihilating the State of Israel, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). They must immediately stop their indiscriminate rocket attacks into Israel," Menendez said.