Senior diplomat confirms ceasefire, Egypt working to free PIJ prisoners

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have agreed to an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire that will go into place at 11:30 p.m., a senior Middle East diplomat confirms to The Times of Israel.

As part of the ceasefire, Egypt has agreed to work to ensure the release of Khalil al-Awawda, an Islamic Jihad member who is hunger-striking in protest of his detention by Israel without any charges, the diplomat says, criticizing the Israeli policy of administrative detentions.

The diplomat says that Egypt will also work to release Islamic Jihad West Bank leader Bassam al-Saadi, who was arrested last week in what is believed to have helped spark the latest round of violence. The diplomat indicates that his immediate release will be more difficult to achieve, though it is also not clear what al-Saadi is being charged with.

The diplomat criticizes the Israeli policy of administrative detention, which allows it to hold suspects practically indefinitely without charge.

The Shin Bet says that in recent months, Saadi “worked even harder to restore PIJ activities, and was behind the creation of a significant military force for the organization in [the northern West Bank] in general and in Jenin in particular.”

“His presence was a significant factor in the radicalization of the organization’s operatives in the field,” the Shin Bet says.

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