Ceasefire in Effect Following More Than Two Days of Fighting in Gaza

At 11:30 p.m. local time, an Egyptian mediated ceasefire went into effect between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad-led militant groups in the Gaza Strip. The ceasefire follows more than two days of fighting where senior members of PIJ, including commanders, were killed in a series of targeted operations conducted by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Operation “Breaking Dawn” began Friday afternoon in Gaza when the IDF targeted PIJ’s northern commander, Taysir al-Jabari in an airstrike. The IDF alleged that al-Jabari was responsible for “many of the decisions taken by the organizations and in the last few days, he planned and promoted attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers using anti-tank launchers.” [See FDD’s Long War Journal: IDF Targeted Operation Eliminates Palestinian Islamic Jihad Commander]

Following the killing of al-Jabari, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other militants groups supporting it began firing rockets at Israeli territory, primarily targeting communities located near the Gaza border.

The fighting persisted through Friday night and into Saturday as rockets continued to be fired by Palestinian groups — some reaching as far as the southern environs of Tel-Aviv — while the IDF concentrated its efforts on eliminating militants sites operated by PIJ.

On Saturday evening, the IDF successfully targeted and eliminated Taysir al-Jabari’s counterpart, Khaled Mansour. Mansour oversaw PIJ’s operations in southern Gaza and was responsible for the killing of two Israeli soldiers in 2010, according to the IDF. [See FDD’s Long War Journal: Operation “Breaking Dawn” in Gaza Enters its Second Day]

Following the killing of Mansour, PIJ retaliated by firing rockets towards Jerusalem, though the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system a few miles west of the city, near Abu Ghosh.

Throughout Sunday, PIJ and other militant groups continued to launch rockets targeting Tel-Aviv and as far east as Beersheva, located in the Negev desert.

While there weren’t any previously unknown weapons systems used in the fighting by Palestinian militant groups, a statement was published by al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a Fatah-affiliate, claiming it successfully targeted Tel-Aviv with a long-range missile called Ma’yin, though it did not provide proof to support its claim.

Additionally, PIJ published a video documenting the launch of a shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile, purportedly targeting an IDF aircraft.

After the ceasefire went into effect, statements were published by PIJ and other militant groups claiming victory over Israel, though it is difficult to see what operational successes were accomplished other than firing rockets at Israeli territory with minimal damage in the majority of areas targeted.

Joe Truzman is a senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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