Egypt 'mediates' ceasefire after fresh round of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza

Thursday 05-05-2016 04:23 PM

smoke and flames are seen following what police said was an israeli air strike in rafah in the southern gaza strip july 9 2014 reuters stringer

CAIRO, May 5, 2016 (Aswat Masriya) - Hamas official Moussa Marzouq said on Wednesday that the situation in Gaza has calmed down since Egypt mediated a ceasefire after Israeli airstrikes in the past few days.

The Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported that Israel launched airstrikes on the besieged Gaza strip on Wednesday evening while AFP reported at least four wounded, three of them children, in the air raids along the border with Israel.

Egypt reacted "quickly and seriously" to the border violence, Abu Marzouq said in a press conference Wednesday night, adding that the raids are an "Israeli attempt to impose new conditions on the border."

IDF spokesperson Peter Lerner wrote Wednesday on his twitter page, "following five attacks against Israeli forces today, an IAF aircraft targeted five Hamas terrorist infrastructure in southern Gaza." 

Later, Lerner wrote that "overnight, in response to the ongoing attacks against Israeli forces, an IAF aircraft targeted four Hamas terrorist sites in Northern Gaza."

The attacks are the first after a relative quiet since Israel last bombarded Gaza in the summer of 2014 and killed around 2,100 Palestinians, according to UN figures. 

"Our efforts to destroy the Hamas terror tunnel network, a grave violation of Israel's sovereignty, will not cease or be deterred," Lerner also wrote.

Egypt has been cracking down, alongside Israel, on tunnels linking the Gaza Strip and the Egyptian Rafah.

At least 1,429 border tunnels connecting Egypt to the Gaza Strip have been destroyed in a year and a half since Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ran for presidency, according to statements by Egypt's armed forces. 

The tunnels have been the only source through which the 1.8 million residents of Gaza, often referred to as "the world's largest open air prison," can receive essential goods as both the Egyptian and Israeli controlled crossings are closed.

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