Egypt Identifies Three Believed To Be Behind Eilat Attack, Ceasefire With Gaza Initiated

August 23, 2011 12:34 PM Saed Bannoura Arab World, News Report, Truce 0
23 Aug
12:34 PM

The Egyptian Authorities stated that three of the men believed to be behind the Thursday attack in Eilat coastal city have been identified, and that one of them is a fugitive who owns an ammunition factory in Sinai, the Qatar-based Al Jazeera reported. Egyptian-mediated ceasefire took effect on Monday.The three detained persons are fugitives wanted by the Egyptian security forces for illegal activities and attacks, Al Jazeera added.

Following the attack that led to the death of eight Israelis, Israeli helicopters crossed
the border with Egypt and fired two missiles killing five Egyptian soldiers.

Israel claimed that its helicopters entered Egyptian territory in an attempt to kill those responsible for the attack.

The Israeli attack led to massive protests in Cairo, especially in front of the Israeli embassy, while the Egyptian government threatened to retract its ambassador in Tel Aviv.

But according to Israeli daily, Haaretz, a source at the Israeli defense Ministry stated that “Israel should not lose Egypt over a terrorist attack”, adding that “should these attacks succeed in harming our relations with Egypt, then terrorist groups would win”.

Meanwhile, an Egyptian mediated ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian factions in Gaza came into effect Monday at midnight after the Popular Resistance Committee declared it is committed to the truce.

Israeli sources reported that the government of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced it will refrain from conducting a large-scale military offensive on Gaza.

During four days of escalation on Gaza, Israeli soldiers killed fifteen Palestinians and wounded more than sixty; children were among the casualties. Senior resistance fighters were also among the dead.

Sources in Gaza reported that Monday was relatively calm under fears of a sudden a Israel attack.

On Monday at noon, a spokesperson of the Salah Ed Deen Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), stated in a press conference in Gaza, that the Brigades decided to temporarily halt the firing of shells into Israel after a number of Arab countries mediated in an attempt to restore calm.

The PRC is the latest faction that declares commitment to calm following the Egyptian-mediated agreement with Israel.

During the attacks on Gaza, Israel killed Kamal Al Nairab, secretary-general of the PRC, and three of its leaders in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Resistance groups in Gaza fired more than 100 shells into southern Israel.
Resistance groups in Gaza, including the Al Qassam Brigades of Hamas, stated that the truce will be avoided should Israel fail to stop its assaults on the Gaza Strip.

In the central West Bank city of Ramallah, head of the Negotiations Department at the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), Dr. Saeb Erekat, stated that Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, who also heads the Fateh movement, supports the ceasefire.

Following a meeting with a Norwegian envoy in Ramallah, Erekat thanked Egypt and the United Nations for their role in intervening to halt the Israeli escalation on Gaza, and for instating the ceasefire.

The Israeli Ministerial Council held an extensive meeting that lasted all night long, and decided not to conduct a large-scale offensive against Gaza in a move that was described as “an effort to avoid further escalation”.

The council accused Hamas of insisting on escalation with Tel Aviv despite the fact that it declared a ceasefire, and that Hamas “is trying to drag Israel into a ground offensive in Gaza in order to harm its international image before the Palestinian Authority heads to the UN to demand recognition of statehood next month”.

Hamas is not involved in the UN move as it was initiated by it’s the Fateh-led Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Hamas is still not part of the PLO as it conditioned joining the organization with massive reforms.

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Saed Bannoura

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