The Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported Monday afternoon that the Islamic Jihad held a press conference warning that it would not agree to a truce with Israel while air strikes continue to kill Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
“We will not agree on a ceasefire stipulated by Israel, neither do we accept a ceasefire while the lives of our people are taken without restraint,” Jihad officials told reporters in Gaza City.
Reportedly, Israeli air strikes have killed 23 Palestinians and wounded at least 80 since Friday, when Israel killed the leader of the Popular Resistance Committees who kidnapped Gilad Shalit.
The PRC’s armed wing, the Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades, on Monday expressed its support for Islamic Jihad’s stance. Brigades spokesman Abu Mujahid urged all other Palestinian factions to join forces to face the Israeli assaults on the Gaza Strip.
The Islamic Jihad says it has fired 80 Grad missiles and 100 other mortars and rockets into southern Israel since Friday, and pledged to continue fighting.
It is believed that as few as six Israelis have been hurt by rockets from Gaza.
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar says Israel is interested in a ceasefire, and the IDF spokesman confirmed that Israel was in contact with Egyptian mediators. A Palestinian official close to the mediation told Reuters that Israel had agreed to a midnight ceasefire.
But the Islamic Jihad are insisting that any truce must include a commitment by Israel not to target terrorist leaders in future air strikes.