Israel, Islamic Jihad each declare victory after latest round of violence

The terror group boasted of Israeli concessions while the IDF said its response, called “Operation Black Belt” has been an unqualified success.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Both sides in the two-day-old conflict between the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist group and Israel were quick to declare victory upon the announcement of a cease-fire Thursday morning.

Having shot over 450 rockets at Israel in the last 48 hours, according to the IDF, mainly targeting the Gaza envelope communities but also major cities like Ashkelon and – once – Tel Aviv, a PIJ spokesman boasted that the group had “confronted [Israel’s] aggression” and “defended the Palestinian people.”

PIJ sources told Arab media that the group had forced Israel to agree to several concessions. Among them were stopping all further assassinations, they said, such as the one that killed senior PIJ leader Baha Abu Al-Atta and set off the current round of fighting.

Another concession Israel supposedly agreed to was that it wouldn’t target protesters during Friday “March of Return” riots orchestrated by Hamas along Israel’s border, in which thousands participate.

Israel denied that any concessions were made. An IDF statement said it “had achieved all its objectives within 48 hours.”

Israel’s air force hit dozens of high-quality military installations. They included rocket-manufacturing and training complexes, houses used for weapons’ storage, launch positions, observation posts and tunnel shafts.

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In addition, more than 25 terrorists were killed, many of whom were in the process of trying to launch missiles at Israel.

Success was high on the defensive end as well. The Iron Dome system knocked down over 90% of the rockets that were heading to populated areas. As a result, only three people were directly hurt by the missiles, and none seriously.

Some 73 Israelis in total were treated for minor injuries, ranging from shock to injuries sustained while running for shelter. However, an eight-year-old girl who had collapsed while seeking safety during an attack is still in serious condition.

Egyptian intelligence officials and U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov worked to put the ceasefire in place.

It went into effect 5:30 AM Thursday and was only broken once during the morning, with a set of five rockets launched at the western Negev that caused no damage. The Palestinian Popular Resistance Committees took credit for the attack.