Power has been restored to Gaza’s only power plant after the ceasefire
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With a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants holding after nearly three days of violence, Gaza’s only power plant resumed operations on Monday and Israel began reopening passes into the territory.
Israel also lifted security restrictions on communities in southern Israel after the Egyptian-brokered truce came into effect late Sunday.
War-weary people in Gaza and Israel were left to pick up the pieces after another round of violence, the worst since an 11-day war between Israel and the territory’s militant Hamas rulers in past
Since Friday, Israeli jets had struck targets in Gaza, while the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group fired hundreds of rockets at Israel.
ISRAEL AND GAZA MILITANTS ARRIVE AT A CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT
During three days of fighting, 44 Palestinians were killed, including 15 children and four women, and 311 were injured, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. Twelve of the dead were Islamic Jihad militants, one from a smaller armed group and two Hamas-affiliated policemen who were not involved in the fighting, according to the armed factions.
Israel estimates that a total of 47 Palestinians were killed, including 14 killed by misfired Islamic Jihad rockets. It said 20 fighters and seven civilians were killed in Israeli airstrikes and it is still investigating six deaths.
No Israelis were killed or seriously injured during the fighting.
The violence had threatened to spiral into another all-out war, but was contained as Hamas stayed on the sidelines, possibly fearing Israeli retaliation and a breakdown in economic deals with Israel, including the issuance of permits of Israeli workers who provide a vital source of income for thousands of Gaza residents.
Israel and Hamas have fought four wars since the group invaded the territory in 2007. The clashes have taken a staggering toll on the impoverished territory’s 2.3 million Palestinian residents.
The latest violence may have boosted the political fortunes of Israel’s interim prime minister, Yair Lapid, who had no experience leading military operations. He launched the offensive less than three months before a general election in which he is campaigning to keep his job.
“All of our goals have been met,” Lapid said Monday. “The entire high military command of the Islamic Jihad in Gaza was successfully attacked in three days.”
Israel began reopening the crossings into Gaza for humanitarian needs and said it would fully open them if calm continued. Fuel trucks were seen entering the main loading passage and heading towards the power plant, which was closed on Saturday after Israel closed the crossings.
This has added to the misery in the heat of summer in the territory, which is under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade and suffers from a chronic power crisis that leaves residents with only a few hours of electricity a day.
ISRAEL KILLS ISLAMIC JIHAD’S SECOND COMMANDER IN GAZA STRIP Amid War Worries
The lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis were disrupted during the violence, although the country’s sophisticated Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted many of the rockets.
Israel launched its operation with a strike on Friday against an Islamic Jihad commander, saying there were “concrete threats” of an anti-tank missile attack on Israelis in response to the arrest last week of a senior member of Islamic Jihad in the occupied West Bank. This arrest came after months of Israeli strikes in the West Bank following a series of Palestinian attacks.
Israel killed another Islamic Jihad leader in a strike on Saturday.
Both sides boasted of their achievements. Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Sunday, Islamic Jihad leader Ziad al-Nakhalah said the militant group remained strong, despite losing two commanders. “This is a victory for Islamic Jihad,” he said.
Despite this claim, the group undoubtedly suffered a blow. Beyond losing the two leaders, he reduced his arsenal by firing hundreds of rockets.
Israel said some of the deaths in Gaza were caused by stray militant rocket fire, including at the Jebaliya refugee camp, where seven Palestinians were killed on Saturday. The army said the deaths of five Palestinians in Jebaliya were still under investigation, apparently referring to five children killed in an explosion at a cemetery on Sunday.
The ceasefire agreement included a promise that Egypt would work to free two senior Islamic Jihad detainees held by Israel. The weekend fighting will also complicate Islamic Jihad’s relations with Hamas.
In the occupied West Bank, Israeli troops on Monday demolished the homes of two Palestinians suspected of carrying out a deadly attack on Israelis in the town of Elad in May. The soldiers faced a violent protest during the operation, the military said.
The UN Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting on Monday on the latest round of fighting.
“We emphasize our commitment to do everything possible to end the ongoing escalation, ensure the safety and security of the civilian population and follow up on the record of Palestinian prisoners,” explained the special coordinator of the ‘UN for the peace process in the Middle East, Tor Wennesland. he said in a statement.
The Israeli military said militants in Gaza fired about 1,100 rockets into Israel, with about 200 landing inside the Palestinian enclave. The military said its air defenses intercepted 380, including two fired at Jerusalem. The military did not specify what happened to the rest, but they likely fell in open areas or broke up in flight.
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, with Hamas limited by the demands of the government.
ISRAEL AND MILITANTS TRADE FIRE AS DEAD IN GAZA RAISES TO 24
Over the past year, Israel and Hamas have reached tacit agreements based on trading calm for work permits and a slight easing of the border blockade, imposed by Israel and Egypt when Hamas invaded the territory 15 years ago. Israel has issued 12,000 work permits to Gazan workers and held out the prospect of 2,000 more.