May 12, 2023 - World

Gaza cease-fire talks collapse as Israel and Palestinian militants trade fire

Smoke rises from buildings in Gaza City on May 12, 2023, after an Israeli air trike. Photo: Mahmud Haz/AFP via Getty Images

Smoke rises from buildings in Gaza City on May 12 after an Israeli airstrike. Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images

Gaza cease-fire talks broke down on Friday after the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group fired a barrage of rockets toward Jerusalem following Israeli airstrikes on the enclave.

The big picture: It was the first time since the current round of deadly violence began that rockets have been fired from Gaza toward Jerusalem, significantly escalating the crisis.

  • At several points over the last four days, it appeared that a cease-fire agreement was close. But after the PIJ fired rockets toward Jerusalem, Israel told Egypt, which was mediating the negotiations, it was immediately suspending the talks and would conduct a harsh retaliation, an Israeli official told Axios.
  • The PIJ blamed the failure of the talks on Israel's refusal to commit to stopping the targeted killings of PIJ commanders, per the Saudi al-Hadath television channel.
  • A PIJ official told Al Jazeera that the firing of rockets toward Jerusalem was meant to signal that the crisis wouldn't stay only in Gaza.

State of play: The Israeli military on Friday afternoon local time killed PIJ senior commander Iyad al-Husni, who was the head of the PIJ operations branch and the acting head of the organization's military council after his predecessor was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Tuesday.

  • At least one other Palestinian was killed in Friday's airstrike in Gaza City and nine were wounded.

Catch up quick: The fighting started on Tuesday when Israeli airstrikes killed 13 Palestinians, including civilians and three senior military commanders of the PIJ.

  • The Israeli air strikes were retaliation for a launch of more than a hundred missiles toward Israel by the PIJ several days earlier after a prominent Palestinian prisoner died in Israeli custody after an 87-day hunger strike.
  • More than 30 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Tuesday. At least half were civilians. More than 100 Palestinians have been wounded. The Israeli military claims that at least 4 Palestinian civilians were killed by PIJ rockets that landed inside Gaza.
  • The PIJ has fired nearly 1,000 rockets from Gaza since Tuesday. Most were intercepted by the Iron Dome system.
  • One Israeli civilian was killed on Thursday when a rocket hit his house in the city of Rehovot in central Israel. At least 15 Israelis have been wounded.
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