Fragile Ceasefire Holds in Gaza after Israeli Air Raids Killed 34 Palestinians

The only survivor of the Abu Malhous massacre in Deir al-Balah in the Central Gaza Strip. (Photo: via Social Media)

A ceasefire between Islamic Jihad and Israel has largely held in the Gaza Strip since Thursday morning.

The agreement reportedly brokered by Egypt came into effect after two days of cross-border fighting and Israeli air attacks killed at least 34 Palestinians, including eight members of the same family.

Gaza Health Ministry on Thursday identified them as members of the Abu Malhous family from Deir al-Balah area.

At least 63 Israelis received treatment for injuries from rocket attacks launched from Gaza.

Despite the ceasefire announcement, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said Israel would follow suit only if Palestinian factions in Gaza stop attacks – denying that Israel had changed open-fire policy as demanded by the Islamic Jihad group for the truce.

The Gaza Strip has been under a joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade for more than a decade, which has severely curtailed freedom of movement for the population of two million. The flow of goods and services, as well as medical supplies, is also severely hampered due to the crippling siege.

Palestinians have been gathering near the perimeter fence to participate in the Great March of Return, a series of weekly protests that began in March 2018, calling for an end to the 12-year-old land and air siege.

Since the Gaza rallies began, 313 Palestinian protesters have been killed by Israeli fire and thousands more wounded, according to the health ministry.

The latest flare-up raised fears of a new all-out conflict between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza, which has seen three major Israeli military operations in the past decade.

(Al Jazeera, PC, Social Media)

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