Sun, 02 Oct 2022

Egypt Works to Broker Truce as Israel-Gaza Border Clashes Continue

Voice of America
08 Aug 2022, 04:06 GMT+10

Jerusalem - Egypt is working to broker a truce to end the fighting in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad. Gaza health authorities say at least 31 people, including six children, have died in Israeli airstrikes, while Israel says it wasn't responsible for at least nine of the deaths. Palestinians have fired almost 600 rockets toward Israel since Friday.

The current clashes began when Israel arrested a senior Islamic Jihad official last week and a 17-year-old Palestinian was killed. Islamic Jihad, which is based in Gaza, threatened to retaliate.

Mourners carry the bodies of Khaled Mansour, a senior commander in the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinians who were killed in Israeli airstrike, during their funeral in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Aug. 7, 2022. Mourners carry the bodies of Khaled Mansour, a senior commander in the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinians who were killed in Israeli airstrike, during their funeral in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Aug. 7, 2022.

On Friday, Israel launched a pre-emptive airstrike on Gaza, killing an Islamic Jihad commander. Since then, Islamic Jihad has fired some 600 missiles at Israel, most of which have been shot down by Israel's Iron Dome system. The Health Ministry in Gaza said at least 31 people have been killed in the airstrikes, including six children.

Israel says it is not responsible for at least nine of the deaths, blaming Islamic Jihad for a rocket that fell short.

Israelis who live near the Gaza Strip have spent much of the past three days in bomb shelters. Adele Riemer lives in Nirim, a kibbutz located just over a kilometer from the Gaza border.

"It's scary. It is scary going outside. You count your steps. You count the distance between ... we have these external safe rooms, so you take maybe a slightly longer path but one that you know has these external safe rooms - reinforced concrete safe rooms, every hundred meters or so ... so life here is you don't get used to it, nobody gets used to stuff like this, but we know how to deal with it," she said.

An Islamic Jihad spokesman says the extremist group still has a large arsenal and that rocket fire will continue. On Sunday, dozens of rockets were fired, including at the outskirts of Jerusalem and the southern city of Beersheba.

A Palestinian man carries his daughter after evacuating his home during an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, Aug. 7, 2022. A Palestinian man carries his daughter after evacuating his home during an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, Aug. 7, 2022.

Israeli analysts like General Eitan Dangot says that the conflict for now is contained but could spiral if the Islamist Hamas movement, which controls Gaza, becomes involved.

"From Israel's point of view, Hamas is outside this escalation; we have of course nothing to do with the population of Gaza - more than two million people," he said.

Analysts say it seems that Hamas supports a cease-fire and does not want to become drawn into the fighting.

Meanwhile, China, France, Ireland, Norway and the United Arab Emirate have requested a closed U.N. Security Council meeting Monday to discuss the developments in Gaza.

VOA's Margaret Besheer contributed to this report.

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