Egyptian efforts in negotiating a ceasefire agreement between the fighting Israel and Gaza militants have finally started to pay off. Despite red alert sirens heard throughout Southern Israel early Tuesday as Gaza militant outfits continued bombardment just hours after reports of truce, relative calm prevailed as the day progressed, Israeli media reported.
A Kassam rocket hit the Eshkol region of southern Israel before 8 a.m., followed by bombing near Ashkelon and in Sdot Negev regions in the early hours of Tuesday, shortly after late night ceasefire.
An Egyptian security official, who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) stance that they haven't violated the ceasefire conditions, according to a Times of Israel report.
Head of the Defense Ministry's political department, Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, who ran the ceasefire talks with the Egyptians, said conditions for ceasefire reached by both parties are very simple.
Very simple -- quiet in exchange for quiet, Gilad told Haaretz adding that the agreement was not signed on a paper but the Israelis were ready to hold fire if Palestinian militants did the same.
Though Palestinians had demanded an Israeli commitment to refrain from targeted killings of senior members of militant organizations, Israeli officials denied any such promises, according to Gilad.
The cross-border fire, triggered by Israel's killing of a top Gaza militant leader on Friday, has been the worst clash between the Jewish state and the Hamas-ruled territory in months. The fighting has killed 21 Gazans, including 18 militants, seriously wounded two Israelis and disrupted the lives of 1 million Israelis living within Gaza rocket range, according to an AP report. Israeli forces said it has undertaken nine air strikes against rocket-launching sites and a weapons storage facility in Gaza strip early Monday.
Prior to the ceasefire, Israeli Primer Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that the airstrikes will continue. We have a clear policy: we will hit anyone who plans to harm us, who prepares to harm us and who harms us, Netanyahu said on a visit to southern Israel on Sunday.
A spokesperson for Islamic Jihad, which claims responsibility for firing more than 90 rockets across Israel border and also lost 10 militants in Israeli bombing, said the group was not involved in the international truce efforts.
There are no contacts. If the Israeli aggression continues and there are more victims there will be no room for discussion about a calm, Daud Shihab told AFP.