Islamic Jihad agreed on Sunday to halt rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip unless there are more Israeli air raids on the territory, Palestinian officials said.
Resistance groups planned a secret meeting later on Sunday to affirm the ceasefire, but a shootout in the West Bank threatened to torpedo the efforts again.
Israeli occupation forces encircled a house in the West Bank town of Qabatiya after sunset on Sunday and killed two Palestinians, including an Islamic Jihad member Israel accused of planning a bomb attack last week in Hadera, witnesses and Palestinian security officials said.
The Israeli military had no comment.
Resistance groups in Gaza have retaliated against Israeli raids in the West Bank by firing homemade rockets at Israel, triggering Israeli retaliation.
Earlier, Palestinian officials said the Palestinian Authority had reached a deal with Islamic Jihad to halt cross-border rocket attacks, which prompted deadly air raids from Israel that killed at least nine Palestinians, most of whom were civilians, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.
There had been no rocket attacks from Gaza by 3pm on Sunday and no Israeli air raids either.
Mofaz said operations against
Khalid al-Batsh, a leader for Islamic Jihad in Gaza said: “If the enemy stops its attacks, our commitment to calm will be maintained.”
Israeli officials said that if rocket fire from Gaza stopped, then raids there would stop too, but that operations against Islamic Jihad would continue after a bombing by the group that killed five Israelis on Wednesday.
“There is an intent to continue it until they cannot carry out any more suicide bombings,” Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz told the cabinet.
Israeli operations continue
Israeli officials said they expected operations against Islamic Jihad to be concentrated in the West Bank.
Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip said 93 people had been treated for conditions caused by Israel’s mock air raids over the territory. The mock air raids and sonic booms caused panic among children and pregnant women, the sources said.
Islamic Jihad began the latest round of rocket fire from Gaza and carried out the attack at a market in the city of Hadera after Israel’s killing of one of its top commanders in the West Bank.
Islamic Jihad, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction, did not say that it would halt bombings as part of its renewed commitment to the truce.
The United States had appealed to Israel for caution in its assaults, while also appealing to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to take action to rein in the resistance groups waging an uprising against the occupation since 2000.
Palestinians are meant to start disarming the factions under a US-backed road map, but Abbas has said that to use force could risk civil war. Israel has not met its own road map commitment to freeze West Bank settlement building.
Palestinian Interior Minister Naser Yusif said on Saturday that his forces would confiscate guns on the streets and “deal firmly” with workshops making weapons or explosives. There was no immediate sign of action.