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Islamic Jihad: Ceasefire with Israel agreed at dawn

Aug. 26, 2011 9:50 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 27, 2011 8:13 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Senior Islamic Jihad officials said the faction had agreed a ceasefire with Israel at dawn Friday, after mediation by Egypt.

Two members of Islamic Jihad's military wing were killed in an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip around 9 p.m. Thursday, prompting outraged calls to reject a truce from the Islamic faction and another group, the Popular Resistance Committees.

The strikes came as five rockets struck the western Negev Thursday night and 15 rockets in the previous 24 hours, including damage to the northern Erez crossing to Israel, according to the Israeli army.

But at around 1 a.m. Friday, senior Islamic Jihad leader Nafez Azzam, said a ceasefire would come into effect immediately.

Azzam lauded Egypt's role in brokering the truce, saying the country had "invested a great deal of effort in order to stabilize the deal."

Senior Islamic Jihad official Mohammed El-Hindi said the group would keep a close eye on the situation, and respond to any breach of the ceasefire.

The Hamas-run government in Gaza contacted Egypt, as well as the US, to brief leaders on the latest clashes with Israel, government spokesman Taher An-Nunu said.

Sunday's ceasefire unstuck as clashes renewed

The previous ceasefire, also mediated by Egypt, collapsed after two days on Tuesday when an Israeli air strike killed an Islamic Jihad field commander and rocket fire from Gaza continued to hit locations in southern Israel.

That deal attempted to calm tensions after 19 Palestinians were killed in four days of Israel air strikes in the coastal enclave, and 150 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israeli towns and cities in the south, killing one man and injuring more than 20, one critically.

The latest clashes came after unknown militants ambushed a number of vehicles in southern Israel on August 18, killing nine Israelis and prompting Israeli leaders to pin the attacks on Gaza factions.
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