Egypt brokers informal Israel-Gaza truce: Israeli official

JERUSALEM Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:26am EDT

Trails of smoke are seen after the launch of rockets from the northern Gaza strip towards Israel October 24, 2012. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Trails of smoke are seen after the launch of rockets from the northern Gaza strip towards Israel October 24, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Amir Cohen

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Palestinian militants held fire overnight on Thursday and Israel refrained from air strikes as an informal truce brokered by Egypt appeared to take hold following two days of violence along the Israel-Gaza border.

Palestinians had launched dozens of rockets into Israel over the preceding two days and Israel conducted a number of air raids on the coastal enclave, raising fears of a prolonged, bloody confrontation between the two sides.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the last known rocket was fired from Gaza on Wednesday at 8.00 p.m. (2 p.m. EDT).

An Israeli defense official said no formal agreement had been reached with Hamas, the Islamist faction which controls the Gaza Strip, although Egyptian defense officials had been instrumental in restoring calm.

"The Egyptians have a very impressive ability to articulate to (Hamas) that its primary interest is not to attack and use terror against Israel or other targets," Israeli defense official Amos Gilad told Israeli Army Radio.

But he added that there was no direct agreement with the Islamist faction which refuses to recognize the Jewish state and calls for its destruction.

"It can be said categorically that there is no agreement with Hamas, there has never been and there will never be. ... The only thing that has been set and said is that there will be calm. We are not interested in an escalation," Gilad added.

On Wednesday, Israel killed a Hamas militant in an air strike which it said was intended to stop rocket launches. On Tuesday, Israel killed three Hamas men, saying they had either launched attacks or were about to do so.

In southern Israel, three agricultural workers were wounded when a Palestinian rocket exploded near them on Wednesday.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said 86 projectiles had been fired at Israel between Tuesday and Wednesday and that the Iron Dome system had intercepted eight of them. Several homes had been damaged by Palestinian rockets.

Israeli schools reopened on Thursday after they had been kept shut in communities near the fenced Gaza boundary and residents were urged to remain indoors.

Hamas has refused to renounce violence or recognize Israel's right to exist, and is ostracized by the Quartet of Middle East mediators comprising the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia.

(Writing by Ori Lewis; editing by Crispian Balmer)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (2)
Netanyahu’s statement of continued illegal settlement confirms his government to be the warmonger of the world, one that will inevitably soon lead us all in to nuclear war. It is in command of an estimated 400 nuclear weapons of mass destruction plus unknown quantities of biological and chemical weapons. All of these WMD are concealed from the IAEA and the international community.

The Israeli government is in violation of the judgement of the International Court of Justice and its continued settlement policy in the occupied territories is a criminal act as determined by the ICJ.

That means that Netanyahu must be brought before the Court to face international investigation. There is no other alternative.

Oct 25, 2012 6:29am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Doc62 wrote:
To DouglasReed100: Netanyahu does not speak for all Isrealis. He is a hawk, like G. Bush. He does not control any WMD. If he pushes his government too much, he will get a “no confidence” vote and essentially be gone. That’s why he always backing off. The Isreali parliment seems to have more cohesiveness than our present senate.
How would you like 86 missiles fired at your family and only strike back twice(surgically too)?
Reason? Romney blabbed it on TV(poor choice) IT’S A CULTURE THING!
Obama, also with admittingly no foreign skills, overreacted to Netanyhu’s rhetoric. At least our president has Hillary & Joe to take care of his shortcomings.

Oct 25, 2012 9:35am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.