Palestinians celebrating the announcement of a ceasefire in Gaza. 13 May, 2023. (Photo credit: Mohammed Abed/AFP)
A ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza, mediated by Egypt, Qatar, and the UN, was reached on the evening of 13 May, putting an end to five days of battle.
The ceasefire document includes pledges to “stop targeting civilians and demolishing homes, as well as targeting individuals,” in line with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement’s demand that Israel cease the ‘assassination policy’ against its leaders.
“Egypt urges the two parties to implement the agreement and is working to follow up on that by communicating with them,” the ceasefire document adds.
On 9 May, Israel assassinated three top PIJ leaders, killing their families along with them in early morning air raids on their homes in the Gaza Strip. In response to the massacre, Palestinian missiles began to rain down on Tel Aviv and the settlements and cities surrounding Gaza, coinciding with continued indiscriminate aerial attacks on the besieged enclave by the Israeli air force.
The crossfire evolved into a full-scale battle, dubbed the Battle of “The Revenge of the Free” by the resistance. As Israel continued to pound Gaza over the next few days, killing three more PIJ leaders and several civilians, rocket-fire remained persistent – with several successive barrages launched daily into the occupied territories and reaching as far as the holy occupied city of Jerusalem.
Two Israelis have been confirmed dead, with dozens injured as a result of the resistance’s rocket-fire. According to the Israeli army, over 1,200 rockets were fired at the occupied territories. Significant material damages to homes and other property were inflicted.
In the Gaza Strip, Israel’s “Shield and Arrow” operation resulted in the killing of 33 Palestinians and the injury of dozens since Tuesday. There has been massive damage to infrastructure, and several civilian homes have been destroyed.
When the clock struck 10:00 PM on the evening of 13 May, Palestinian rockets were still being launched toward Israel out of the strip in the dozens, while Israeli warplanes continued to strike Gaza.
🔴🇸🇩🎥 Burst of rockets from #Gaza into Israel towards #Sderot moments again, several minutes after the #ceasefire implemented.#نحن_مع_المقاومة #ثار_الاحرار https://t.co/dzis1R31pP pic.twitter.com/Hya3QQThp9
— Haidar Akarar (@HaidarAkarar) May 13, 2023
The cross-fire continued for around 40 minutes before calm eventually prevailed.
Rocket fire persists despite announcement of ceasefire at 10pm https://t.co/k6VkdYyLba
— Ibn Walid (@walid970721) May 13, 2023
Tariq Selmi, a spokesman for the PIJ, claimed that Israel had agreed during negotiations to halt its policy of assassinating leaders. However, it is unclear what has been decided regarding the other terms put forward by the resistance, which include the release of hunger-striker Khader Adnan’s body and a change in the course of next week’s controversial flag march.
“Any stupidity or assassination by the occupation will be met with a response, and the Zionist enemy bears the responsibility,” he said.
The speed and coordination with which the factions – led by the PIJ – were able to accurately target settlements and cities, as well as military sites, with successive rocket barrages, has been hailed a victory by the resistance.
“Today, we announce the end of another round in the struggle with the Zionist project, in which we lost our dearest sons among the martyred leaders … They wanted to drown in our blood … but the fighters of our people came out at them from the victorious Saraya Al-Quds, and refused to swallow blood,” PIJ chief Ziad al-Nakhala said in a statement following the ceasefire.
Nakhala also “extended thanks” to Iran and Hezbollah for standing by the resistance, as well as to Egypt and Qatar for their “efforts to curb the aggression.”
In a statement, the Joint Operations Room of the resistance factions said: “This battle is a new page of glory for our people … God is great, and victory belongs to the resistance.”