|Rocket fired toward Israel on August 5, 2022 (photo: Reuters)
The clashes from last Friday to Sunday were the fiercest and bloodiest in Gaza in the past year.
Conflict sparks international concern
The conflict broke out last Friday when the Israeli army suddenly launched several airstrikes against the Gaza Strip killing at least 15 Palestinian including a high commander of Jihad.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said the pre-emptive attack was aimed at preventing attack by Iran-backed militias in Gaza. On Saturday and Sunday, the Israeli army continued to launch air strikes targeting other locations in Gaza.
Palestine’s health agency reported that at least 44 Palestinians, half of them civilians, died in Israel’s attacks. More than 360 persons were injured and hundreds of houses and businesses were damaged.
In retaliation to Israeli air strikes, Jihadists fired hundreds of rockets from Gaza into Israel. According to Israeli authorities, before the ceasefire took effect, Palestinians had fired 580 rockets at Israel, but most were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system and did not cause any casualties.
According to international humanitarian organizations, the recent fighting has been the fiercest and bloodiest clash between the Israeli army and Palestinian jihadists in the Gaza Strip since mid-2021. It has caused great concern in the international community as it undermines the efforts to restore peace talks which have been stalled for many years. A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Saturday that the European Union is following with great concern the latest developments in and around Gaza and urges for maximum restraint on all sides.
|Israeli soldiers at the border of the Gaza strip on August 7 (Photo: VNA)
Strengthening ceasefire to enable peace talks
The Middle East has been a hotspot for decades. The ceasefire was immediately applauded by many countries and international organizations. On Sunday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on all sides to strictly observe the ceasefire. He said the UN supports a two-state solution based on relevant UN resolutions, international law, and previous agreements. US President Joe Biden issued a statement praising the ceasefire and urging all parties involved to honor the agreement and ensure the smooth delivery of fuel and humanitarian aid to Gaza.
Both the Israeli military and the PIJ have vowed to immediately respond if the other side violates the truce. Both sides have violated similar truces just days after they took effect.
In a statement on Tuesday Tor Wennesland, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said the situation is "fragile" and the ceasefire could break at any time.