Accessibility links

Palestinian Militants Reaffirm Gaza Truce


Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip have reaffirmed they will adhere to a truce with Israeli forces agreed to five months ago. VOA's Jim Teeple reports from Jerusalem.

After several days of uncertainty over whether the five-month truce would continue to hold, Palestinian militant factions have apparently agreed to honor it, although they say their rocket attacks against southern Israel could resume if Israel does not extend the truce to the occupied West Bank.

A senior Egyptian intelligence official, Major-General Burhan Hammad, told the Voice of Palestine radio station on Thursday that he told Palestinian militants they should take Israeli threats to intervene militarily in Gaza seriously.

The Egyptian official traveled to Gaza on Wednesday after tensions escalated following rocket attacks against southern Israel by the armed wing of Hamas. The Hamas militants said the attacks were in response to Israeli attacks that killed nine people in the West Bank in recent days.

Hamas political figures such as Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said controlling militants in the Gaza Strip is becoming more difficult because of Israeli actions in the West Bank and no progress on a prisoner exchange deal with Israel.

Saeb Erekat, a close aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says the truce should be maintained at all costs.

"What we need with the Israelis is to maintain and sustain a cessation of hostilities the ceasefire, the tahadiya, or hudna [truce], whatever you want to call it," he said.

Israeli officials said on Wednesday that for the time being they have ruled out a large-scale military intervention in Gaza in response to Palestinian rocket attacks. Recently, a number of senior Israeli intelligence and military officials have called for just such an operation against Hamas, because they say the group has significantly strengthened its military capabilities in recent months.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian man was seriously wounded after he threw a grenade at Egyptian police on the Egyptian side of the Gaza Strip border. Egyptian authorities say the man had smuggled a suicide bomb belt into Egypt through a tunnel under the border when he was confronted by police.

In January, a Palestinian suicide bomber struck the Israeli resort city of Eilat killing three people. Israeli police say the bomber slipped into Israel after first crossing into Egypt through the Gaza border.

XS
SM
MD
LG