Palestinian Militants Declare Cease-Fire in Gaza
Palestinian militants have declared a cease-fire in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Fighting has tapered off in Gaza, following Israel’s heaviest air strikes on Palestinian militants since the Gaza War four years ago. Hamas and Islamic Jihad declared a truce, after firing dozens of rockets and mortars across the Israeli border.
Israeli warplanes attacked more than 40 Hamas targets Saturday, including tunnels, weapons depots and training bases. The military said the air raids were in retaliation for more than three months of Palestinian violence on the Gaza frontier, including burning kites that have destroyed vast areas of Israeli farmland and forests.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel dealt a severe blow to Hamas.
Speaking at the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said he hopes that Hamas got the message, and if not, Israel is prepared for further military action.
Militants in Gaza say the ball is in Israel’s court.
Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shihab said the Palestinians do not want war, but he warned that armed groups are prepared to defend themselves if Israel launches more attacks.
Months of violence have raised fears that Israel and Hamas could be headed for the fourth Gaza war in a decade. The popular assessment on both sides of the border is that the cease-fire is just a timeout until the next round of conflict.
Source: Voice of America