Since Friday, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) has launched rockets into Israeli communities along the Gaza Strip. The actions of the terrorist group have been in retaliation for Bassam al-Saadi, a leader in the militant group, arrested last week.
Sirens wailed as rockets streaked across the sky, many intercepted by the Israeli missile defense system known as the Iron Dome. Meanwhile, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) responded to the rockets with air strikes into the Gaza strip, killing PIJ commanders Khaled Mansour and Tayseer al-Jabari and Palestinian civilians.
Israel says it launched Operation Breaking Dawn on Friday due to the “immediate threat” from PIJ, according to the BBC.
Egyptian mediators, desiring to retain a margin of stability in the region, traveled to Israel and negotiated a ceasefire Sunday night. However, what was agreed to now seems to be in question.
According to the Jerusalem Post (JP), the only demand Israel agreed to was both sides stop shooting. The Israeli news agency noted the demands of the PIJ was the release of Bassam al-Saadi and Khalil Awawda, an administrative detainee, as soon as possible.
A diplomatic source said Israel did not agree to release prisoners but viewed this as a “diplomatic opportunity” to leverage messages from Hamas, who are holding Israeli captives. According to the JP, Hamas has been keeping Israelis Hisham al-Sayed and Abera Mengistu in captivity, as well as the bodies of soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul.
“We want to take this forward and not just be satisfied with a quiet Islamic Jihad,” he said. “The captives are a high priority for Prime Minister [Yair] Lapid. We are acting to exhaust every opportunity to deal with this humanitarian matter.”
However, PIJ Secretary General Ziyad al-Nakhala threatened the resumption of fighting if their demands weren’t met.
“If the enemy does not abide by what we agreed on through the Egyptian mediator,” Nakhala said, “We will resume fighting again, and God will do with us what He wills.”
On Monday, an IDF briefing about Operation Breaking Dawn revealed that one in five of the PIJ rockets landed in Gaza, not Israel, as the terrorist group intended. Moreover, according to IDF Spokesperson’s Unit Brig.-Gen, more civilians were killed by the misguided rockets than by the IDF airstrikes, according to IDF Spokesperson’s Unit Brig.-Gen. Ran Kochav.
The PIJ fired approximately 1,100 rockets throughout the operation, and 200 landed within Gaza. Of the 990 rockets that entered Israel, 380 were intercepted by the Iron Dome at a 95% success rate. The other 610 landed either at sea or in open spaces. No Israeli casualties were reported. The Palestinians suffered 35 casualties. Twenty-six were innocent bystanders. Of the 26, 11 were killed by Israeli airstrikes, and 15 were killed by PIJ rockets that failed to clear Gaza’s border. The IDF briefing noted that no civilian infrastructure in Gaza was damaged during the IDF operation.