Gaza groups said to pledge not to escalate as long as IDF halts raids
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Gaza groups said to pledge not to escalate as long as IDF halts raids

Weekly protest scheduled for Tuesday at border between Israel and the Strip canceled; schools and businesses reopen in Gaza City

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

The wreckage of what was once a building housing the offices of Hamas chairmain Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City on March 26, 2019, the morning after it was destroyed by Israeli strikes in response to a rocket from the Palestinian enclave that hit a house and wounded seven Israelis. (Israel Defense Forces)
The wreckage of what was once a building housing the offices of Hamas chairmain Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City on March 26, 2019, the morning after it was destroyed by Israeli strikes in response to a rocket from the Palestinian enclave that hit a house and wounded seven Israelis. (Israel Defense Forces)

Terror groups in the Gaza Strip told Egyptian intelligence officials that they would not escalate tensions with Israel as long as Israeli security forces halt their air raids on the coastal enclave, Qatar-based news outlet Al-Jazeera reported Tuesday morning, citing a Palestinian source.

The report came after residents in southern Israel and Gaza woke to a tense but relatively quiet morning, following a night in which terror groups in the Strip launched approximately 60 rockets at the Jewish state and the IDF struck dozens of Gazan targets.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum announced late Monday night that Egypt had succeeded in brokering a ceasefire between the terror groups and Israel. However, the two sides continued to exchange fire until the early hours of Tuesday.

Tensions between Israel and the terror groups ramped up Monday morning after a rocket fired from Gaza hit Mishmeret, a village in the center of the country, injuring seven including two infants.

Israel blamed the rocket attack on Hamas, which did not issue a statement confirming or denying responsibility for the attack.

Meanwhile, committees responsible for organizing protests on the border between Israel and Gaza announced on Tuesday that a weekly demonstration in northern Gaza on the beach near the border separating the Jewish state and the coastal enclave was canceled “because of the security situation the Strip is going through in the wake of Israel’s ongoing escalation.”

For the past six months, Palestinians have participated in almost weekly protests, which have included violence, at the border. The protesters have called for Israel to lift restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza.

Israel maintains that its limitations on movement aim to prevent Hamas and other terror groups from transferring weapons to Gaza.

A resident of Gaza City said that markets and businesses were open Tuesday morning.

“People are back on the streets, but there is concern that tensions will escalate later today,” the resident, who works at a tile factory in Gaza, said by phone, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “We are waiting to see what happens.”

Israeli politicians on Tuesday pushed back against Hamas’s claim that a ceasefire was concluded.

Israel did not agree to a ceasefire with Hamas, and is ready to continue its airstrikes on targets in the Gaza Strip, a senior official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s entourage to Washington said Tuesday afternoon, minutes before the delegation’s plane landed in Tel Aviv.

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