Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
The damage caused to a house and the surrounding from a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip into a moshav near the border with the Gaza Strip on August 7, 2022.

A spokesperson for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist organization said Sunday night that an agreement was reached with Egyptian mediators to begin a ceasefire at 11:30 pm.

Mohammad al-Hindi, the PIJ spokesperson who spoke with Israel’s Channel 12, said the terror organization had not, in fact, accepted the Egyptian mediators’ proposed ceasefire with Israel, set for 8 pm, as reported by Israeli and Arab media outlets.

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Earlier in the day, Israel had also agreed to a ceasefire proposal advanced by Egypt, only for it to be rejected by the PIJ.

The issue, said al-Hindi, was Israel’s refusal to agree to PIJ’s demands for the release of the group’s senior commander in Jenin who was arrested by Israel last week along with his son-in-law and aide, among other issues.

Sheikh Bassam al-Saadi, 62, was taken into custody late last Monday night along with his aide and son-in-law, Ashraf al-Jada, who was visiting al-Saadi’s home at the time.

IDF on High Alert after Arrest of Senior Islamic Jihad Terrorist in Jenin

It was the arrest of al-Saadi that sparked the current conflict, according to Palestinian Islamic Jihad — and now they want Israel to release him as a condition for a ceasefire.

(Israel said it was the concrete terrorist threat to murder civilians in the Gaza Envelope region that finally determined the launch of Operation Breaking Dawn — to “put an end” to that threat and others like it.)

As of 9 pm Sunday night, Israel had not agreed to PIJ’s demands, Channel 12 reported.

PIJ terrorists have fired more than 935 rockets and mortar shells since the start of the operation.

Of those, 775 of the projectiles made it into Israeli territory and 300 of those were intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system, a 96-97 percent success rate.

The rest were misfired, with most landing in Gaza among PIJ’s neighbors — killing several, including at least four children — and in the Mediterranean Sea.

At least one of the rockets crashed into the sea along the shores of Tel Aviv, delighting residents who busily filmed the event with their smartphones.

Other Israeli residents were not so lucky: several houses sustained direct hits in the Gaza Envelope area, and a factory was hit in the Ashkelon industrial area, wounding one worker.

Egyptian mediators have promised PIJ they will try to convince Israel to let al-Saadi go, according to al-Hindi.

The PIJ spokesperson said that in return, the terror group would agree to a ceasefire, beginning at 11:30 pm, according to Channel 12.

That last half hour before midnight has been the time when most of the terror group’s rocket fire began to wind down and quiet began for a few hours each night over the past several days of the conflict.

Whether or not the ceasefire will hold on Sunday night remains to be seen, and Israel continued to warn its citizens to remain near — or inside — their bomb shelters.

Likewise, Defense Minister Benny Gantz completed a situation assessment shortly before the announcement, together with senior defense officials including the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Director of the Mossad, Head of the ISA, and MoD Director General.

Following the assessment, Gantz instructed the defense establishment to continue maintaining readiness for operational activity.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.