Gaza City, Gaza Strip — Gaza’s only power plant resumed operations on Monday with a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants after nearly three days of violence as Israel began reopening crossings in the region.
Israel also lifted security restrictions on southern Israeli communities after an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire took effect late Sunday. Fighting subsided in Gaza and Israel, and war-weary people were left picking up the pieces after another round of violence – the worst since last year’s 11-day war between Israel and Hamas.
Since Friday, Israeli planes have targeted targets in Gaza while the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group fired hundreds of rockets at Israel.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said that in the three days of fighting, 44 Palestinians, including 15 children and four women, were killed and 311 were wounded. Islamic Jihad said 12 of those killed were terrorists. Israel said rockets fired from Gaza killed some people. No Israeli was killed.
The violence threatened to spiral into another all-out war, but was contained as Gaza’s ruling Hamas group remained on edge, possibly because it feared Israeli retaliation and undoing the economic understanding with Israel, which has left thousands Includes Israel Work Permit for Gaza Residents which strengthens Hamas. Control on the Coastal Strip.
Israel and Hamas have fought four wars since their occupation of the region in 2007. Hamas had a strong incentive to avoid further conflict, which has taken a staggering toll on the poor region’s 2.3 million Palestinian residents.
The outbreak of violence in Gaza was a significant test for Israel’s acting prime minister, Yair Lapid, who lacks experience leading military operations. He launched the offensive less than three months before the general election, in which he is campaigning to keep the job – and gain political ground with it.
Israel began reopening crossings in Gaza on Monday for humanitarian needs and said it would fully open them if peace prevails. Fuel trucks were seen entering the main cargo crossing leading to the power plant, which went offline on Saturday after Israel closed the crossing in Gaza last week.
This added to the misery at the height of the summer heat in the region, which is under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade and plagued by a chronic power crisis that gives residents only a few hours of electricity a day.
The lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis were disrupted during the violence. Israel’s sophisticated Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted several rockets launched in Israel and there were no significant injuries.
Israel began its campaign on Friday with a strike on an Islamic Jihad leader, saying it was “concrete” of an anti-tank missile attack against Israelis in response to last week’s arrest of another senior Islamic Jihad member in the West Bank. dangers”. The arrests came after months of Israeli raids in the West Bank to round up suspects in the aftermath of Palestinian attacks against Israel.
It killed another Islamic Jihad leader in an attack on Saturday.
Both sides took pride in their respective successes. Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Sunday, Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad al-Nakhla said the terrorist group remained strong despite losing two of its leaders. “This is a victory for Islamic Jihad.
Despite that claim, the group undoubtedly suffered a setback during the fierce offensive. In addition to losing both leaders, he reduced his arsenal by firing hundreds of rockets.
Israel said some of the deaths in Gaza were caused by misguided terrorist rocket firing, including at the Jebalia refugee camp, where six Palestinians were killed on Saturday. On Sunday, a projectile hit a house in Jebalia in the same area, killing two people. Palestinians blamed Israel for Sunday’s attack, while Israel said it was investigating whether the area was hit by misfired rockets.
The ceasefire agreement contained a promise that Egypt would work to release two senior Islamic Jihad prisoners held by Israel, but there was no guarantee that this would happen. The weekend’s fighting was also bound to complicate Islamic Jihad’s relationship with Hamas.
A senior Israeli diplomatic official said the offensive was successful and took back “decades” of Islamic Jihad’s capabilities, citing the loss of two leaders and the group’s rocket production and firing capabilities, as well as other attacks. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the operation with the media.
US President Joe Biden welcomed the ceasefire.
“Over these past 72 hours, the United States has worked with officials from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan and others throughout the region,” he said in a statement on Sunday.
In the occupied West Bank on Monday, Israeli troops demolished the homes of two Palestinians suspected of carrying out a deadly attack against Israel in the city of Elad in May. The army said that the soldiers faced violent protests during the operation.
The UN Security Council was to hold an emergency meeting on Monday on the violence. China, which chairs the council this month, scheduled the session in response to a request from the United Arab Emirates, which represents Arab countries on the council, as well as China, France, Ireland and Norway.
The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wenesland, said: “We underline our commitment to end the ongoing tension, ensure the safety and security of the civilian population, and follow up on the Palestinian prisoners’ file.” ” , in a statement.
The Israeli military said militants in Gaza fired about 1,100 rockets toward Israel, about 200 of which landed inside the Palestinian enclave. The military said its air defenses had intercepted 380 of them, two of whom fired toward Jerusalem. The military did not specify what happened to the remainder, but they fell in open areas or broke in the air.
Islamic Jihad has fewer fighters and supporters than Hamas, and little is known about its arsenal. Both groups call for the destruction of Israel, but have different priorities, constrained by the demands of the Hamas regime.
Over the past year, Israel and Hamas have struck a tacit agreement on trade permits for work permits and a slight easing of the border blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt when Hamas occupied the region 15 years ago. Israel has issued 12,000 work permits to Gaza workers, and has blocked the possibility of granting another 2,000 permits.
Goldenberg reported from Tel Aviv, Israel. Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.