Hamas announces new deal to end escalation with Israel
Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, announced a new deal on Monday to cease escalating hostilities with Israel.
The agreement was reached following intensive mediation carried out by Qatar and Egypt. The Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi had traveled back and forth between the two sides in order to secure the ceasefire.
The office of Yahya Sinwar, the head of Hamas in Gaza, declared that "an understanding was reached to rein in the latest escalation and end (Israeli) aggression against our people," following the mediation talks.
The announcement included a series of projects which are intended to improve the situation of Palestinians in the Gaza strip and alleviate some of the consequences of the coronavirus crisis.
An end to the violence
Hamas had eased up on their attacks against Israel during the pandemic, however, violence between the two sides once again increased in recent weeks after months of calm.
The new attacks included rockets as well as so-called fire bombs — crude explosives devices attached to balloons, condoms or plastic bags which have set off over 400 fires in southern Israel, burning large areas of farmland.
The Israeli response consisted of almost daily military strikes against Hamas positions since August 6. Israel had also recently prohibited the import of fuel into the coastal enclave which had left the people living there with just four hours of electricity a day.
Fishing zones along the Gazan coast had also been closed off.
'A total halt'
In exchange for "a total halt" to incendiary attacks, the deal calls for relaxing restrictions on fuel deliveries.
"Fuel supplies will return and the power station will be restarted from Tuesday," a Hamas source told news agency AFP.
Around two million people live in Gaza under difficult conditions caused by a blockade from both Israel and neighboring Egypt. Observers have expressed concern about the danger of new coronavirus outbreaks which have appeared in the region.
ab/rs (AFP, dpa)