UPDATE: After Islamic Jihad militant group spokesman announced a cease-fire deal that went into effect at 5:30am Thursday. At 7:30a.m. Israel’s foreign minister maintained their policy of “targeted killings” on militants will not end. “Israel will harm anyone who tries to harm it.”
At 9:25a.m. an Israeli military spokesman confirmed the cease-fire saying the two days of heavy fighting “is over.” However, beginning at 11:05a.m. Thursday morning, militants from Gaza “fired a barrage of rockets into Israel” reported the Associated Press.
The Associated Press has reported that Islamic Jihad militant group spokesman Musab al-Berim announced a cease-fire with Israel. Gaza and Israel have been engaged in two days of heavy fighting and countless rocket attacks.
Fighting began after an Israeli airstrike targeted and killed a senior Islamic Jihad commander, Bahaa Abu el-Atta. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said el-Atta was the mastermind behind many attacks against Israel and was a “ticking bomb.” Islamic Jihad vowed revenge and within hours of their leader’s death, fired nearly 200 rockets at Israel. Islamic Jihad is supported by Iran and has vowed to destroy Israel.
Air-raid sirens halted life in southern Israel. Schools and businesses closed and almost no one was on the roads except for military and emergency personnel. The Israeli military said its “Iron Dome” aerial defense system had intercepted “dozens” of the roughly 200 rockets launched.
Islamic Jihad spokesman al-Berim said “the Egyptian-brokered deal went into effect at 5:30a.m.” although there was no immediate confirmation from Israel according to the Associated Press. Al-Berim also stated the cease-fire included “a list of demands presented by his group…including a halt to Israeli targeted killings of the group’s leaders and an easing of Israel’s 12-year blockade of Gaza.”