Palestinian militants said Saturday they would halt their rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza, after Egypt negotiated a cease-fire agreement.
“A comprehensive cease-fire agreement was reached which came into force immediately in exchange for a halt to the Israeli aggression,” Islamic Jihad spokesman Dawould Shihab said.
There was no immediate confirmation from Israel.
Israel said Saturday it believes Syria and Iran are responsible for ordering the rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip that began Friday and lasted into Saturday.
Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said Saturday that Iran’s Al Quds force, based in Syria, ordered the Islamic Jihad group to launch the rocket attack on Israel.
“We have seen and established a clear link between Gaza and Damascus,” Conricus said.
Conricus said Israel holds Hamas responsible for the attack, even though it was carried out by the Islamic Jihad.
Before the news of the cease-fire agreement, Conricus said Israel would retaliate against Syria and Iran.
Israel’s military said Saturday that it intercepted 10 of 30 rockets fired overnight on Israel from Gaza.
The Israeli army said its Iron Dome serial defense system intercepted the projectiles, adding that two rockets fell within the Gaza Strip while the others landed in open areas.
The volley of rockets into Israel came just hours after Palestinian health authorities said five people were killed and dozens wounded by Israeli forces Friday in protests along the border.
The Israeli army said it aimed airstrikes at three positions belonging to Hamas, the militant group that has political control of the Palestinian territory.
Israel said thousands of Palestinians gathered along the Gaza border Friday to throw firebombs and rocks at Israeli troops. Such protests have been taking place since March 30 as Palestinians demand an end to the Israeli blockade of the territory.
On Thursday, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on human rights situation in the Palestinian territories told a committee of the General Assembly that Gaza has become “unlivable” as a result of the blockade. The rapporteur, Michael Lynk, said the youth unemployment rate is at 70 percent, the health care system has collapsed, and much of the drinking water supply is contaminated.
In addition, he said, about 200 Palestinians, including 40 children, have been killed by Israel’s security forces during the Friday protests.
Lynk said it was time for the international community to take action to stop Israel’s annexation of territory in the West Bank.
“During five decades of the occupation,” Lynk said, “Israel has steadily entrenched its sovereign footprint throughout the West Bank” through settlement and expansion.
“The strict prohibition against annexation in international law applies not only to a formal declaration, but also to those acts of territorial appropriation by Israel that have been a cumulative part of its efforts to stake a future claim of formal sovereignty over the occupied Palestinian territory,” he added.
Lynk urged the international community to take “meaningful steps … to insist upon accountability.”
Israel has held a blockade against Gaza for more than a decade. It says the blockade is necessary to isolate Hamas.
Source: Voice of America