Calm skies over Gaza as truce declared

Israel and Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad declared a truce on Thursday (November 14), calming the worst fighting the Gaza Strip has seen in months.

The bloodshed was triggered by Israel killing Islamic Jihad's top Gaza commander in an airstrike on Tuesday (November 12).

At least 34 Palestinians have since been killed, almost half of them civilians, while hundreds of rocket launches by the militants have paralyzed much of southern Israel.

In Gaza City, some welcomed Islamic Jihad's efforts.


"The retaliation was good, our blood was not spilled in vain. About the truce, we don't want our people to suffer more, because we are already under a tough siege."

However, there are conflicting views as to what each side has agreed to.

This is Islamic Jihad spokesman Musab al-Braim.


"The deal was made by Islamic Jihad on behalf of all the Palestinians. The conditions are to stop assassination operations, protect protesters during border protests for the right of return and to start implementing steps to break the siege."

But Israel's foreign minister, Israel Katz, denied that targeted killings, or the "open fire" policy at Gaza's border, would cease.

He said Israel would observe a simple quid-pro-quo of holding fire if the Palestinian militants did so first.

The truce was mediated by Egypt and the United Nations. U.N. envoy Nickolay Mladenov tweeted that the coming hours and days will be critical, and urged all sides to show maximum restraint.