Islamic Jihad: Gaza Factions Agree to New Cease-fire With Israel

Despite agreement, Grad rocket falls near Ashkelon in open field after the cease-fire was to come into effect; no damage or injuries were reported.

Gaza militants early Friday called their second truce in less than five days in an attempt to keep more than a week of hostilities with Israel from escalating.

A leader of the Islamic Jihad faction, Mahfez Azzam, said Egypt mediated the cease-fire, which is to go into effect at 1 P.M. local time Friday.


Despite the agreement, a Grad rocket fell near Ashkelon in an open field Friday afternoon, after the cease-fire was to come into effect. No damage or injuries were reported.

The factions had called a cease-fire late Sunday, but it dissolved almost immediately in a volley of rocket fire from Gaza on southern Israel and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes in which some two dozen Palestinians and one Israeli were killed. The violence began with a militant attack that killed eight Israelis on the Egyptian border.

"The government has called on the Palestinian factions not to give an opportunity to the (Israeli) occupation government to escalate its aggression further," said Taher Nunu, a government spokesman in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Another Hamas official said all key factions agreed to the truce and that the Gaza government and Egypt were trying to get tiny factions on board, too.

Hours earlier, an Israeli airstrike killed two Palestinian militants in Gaza following a salvo of rocket attacks on Israel.

Palestinian officials said the two were members of Islamic Jihad.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed the air attack, saying the two were targeted after they fired mortar shells toward an Israeli border crossing, damaging it.

More than 15 rockets and mortar shells were fired toward Israel on Thursday, the military said.