The targets which were struck across the Gaza Strip included 35 military complexes for weapons manufacturing, 30 underground infrastructures and 20 military observation posts.
The Israeli military credited the latest ceasefire understandings with Hamas to the near-nightly airstrikes carried out by the Israeli Air Force against some 100 targets belonging to the terror group in the Gaza Strip.
“Over the last weeks, Hamas launched rockets, explosive and arson balloons from the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilians. In addition, a number of violent riots were instigated along the Gaza Strip security fence,” the IDF said in a statement. “In response, the IDF struck approximately 100 military targets belonging to Hamas during 19 nights.”The targets that were struck across the Gaza Strip included approximately 35 weapons-manufacturing and armament targets, some 30 underground workshops and underground infrastructures, a number of military compounds, approximately 10 aerial platforms belonging to Hamas (drones and anti-aircraft missile equipment), a number of military naval targets and over 20 observation posts.
“The strikes of these terror sites constitute a significant blow to Hamas’ terror infrastructure and force generation capabilities,” the military said, adding that “the IDF is ready to operate as necessary in order to defend Israeli citizens living in the Gaza envelope and in southern Israel.”
On Tuesday morning IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman spoke to both Army Radio and Kan Radio, saying that “last night’s statement by Hamas is due to a change in our policy of sovereignty violation.”
He not only credited the ceasefire to the airstrikes but also “the severe sanctions we placed on them,” such as closing the crossings and fishing zone as well as the stopping of fuel for Gaza’s electricity.
Zilberman also said that the growing concerns about the coronavirus outbreak in the blockaded enclave and the promise of Qatari aid money also helped bring the latest round to a close.
“At the end of the day, the strikes, sanctions, corona and money is what brought them to make their statement,” the spokesperson said.
Hamas, meanwhile, sought to present the understandings, reached under the auspices of Qatar, as a big achievement for the Palestinians.
“The Palestinian resistance achieved new measures to ease the siege and confront the coronavirus in the Gaza Strip, contrary to Israel’s desire,” said Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif Qanou.
“This is an important step towards ending the siege of the Gaza Strip and achieving a dignified life for our people. Many vital projects will be implemented with generous Qatari funding, and the Palestinians will feel them in the coming days, including those that serve the various sectors affected by the blockade and the coronavirus.”
Shortly after the ceasefire understandings were announced on Monday night, Qatar said it will double its financial grant to the Gaza Strip this month to $17 million. Of these, $7m. will go to those affected by the pandemic, while $10m. will be spent on needy families.
Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi, who helped broker the understandings, said that his country will provide all the necessary medical supplies and equipment to help the Gaza Strip cope with the increase in the number of infections.
“During the coming hours, an advanced device for examining coronavirus will be provided to the Gaza Strip, in addition to 20,000 testing kits,” he said.
On Tuesday, trucks carrying tankers filled with fuel crossed into the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Israel. The fuel is intended for the power station in the Gaza Strip.
The supply of the fuel is part of the Israel-Hamas understandings to solve the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip.
Al-Emadi said that the contacts and discussions he conducted during the past few days resulted in finally reaching understandings “to stabilize calm and return matters to what they were before the recent escalation, in preparation for the implementation of a number of projects that serve the people of the Gaza Strip and contribute to alleviating the effects of the blockade imposed on them for years.”
He added that the announcement of the truce agreement came after a phone call between the Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and the head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh.
“The Hamas leadership in Gaza displayed responsibility until we reached this agreement, taking into account the difficult circumstances and conditions that the residents live in, especially in light of the spread of the coronavirus in the Gaza Strip,” al-Emadi said.
Palestinian political analyst Khaled al-Najjar praised the agreement as a victory for Hamas and the Palestinian factions. “I believe that the resistance has largely broken the blockade, especially in wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus and the international changes that serve Israel,” al-Najjar remarked. “The resistance was able to force the enemy to accept its conditions.”