Gaza group watching Israel’s response to new truce

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip —         A Gaza  militant leader said Friday that his Islamic Jihad group will be watching  Israel’s response to the latest attempt at a cease-fire, following more than a  week of hostilities with Israel.

Muhammed Al-Hindi, a leader of the Palestinian faction, said the  Egyptian-mediated truce went into effect Friday.

It’s the second attempt to end more than a week of hostilities.The escalation  began with an incursion by militants, apparently from Gaza, who crossed on Aug.  18 into southern Israel from Egypt and killed eight Israelis.

A cease-fire late Sunday dissolved with rocket fire from Gaza on  southern Israel and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes, in which two dozen  Palestinians and one Israeli were killed.

“We are evaluating and monitoring the commitment of the occupation government  to the cease-fire,” said Al-Hindi, adding that Israel “carries full  responsibility for the latest escalation, and for any future violations of this  cease-fire.”

There was no immediate Israeli government reaction.

A Hamas official said early Friday all key factions had agreed to the latest  truce and that the Gaza government and Egypt were trying to get smaller  Palestinian factions on board as well.

Hours earlier, an Israeli airstrike killed two Palestinian militants in Gaza  following a salvo of rocket attacks on Israel. Palestinian officials said the  two were members of Islamic Jihad.

The Israeli military confirmed the airstrike, saying two militants were  targeted after they fired mortar shells toward an Israeli border crossing,  damaging it.

More than 15 rockets and mortar shells were fired toward Israel on Thursday,  the military said.

Two shells hit the border crossing between Israel and Gaza, cutting off  electricity and trapping a Palestinian woman and her baby inside the border  terminal. An Israeli military commander said he took them to a protected area of  the crossing and waited for mortar fire to subside before allowing them to cross  into Gaza an hour later.

( / 26.08.2011)


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