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There has been yet another flare-up in the Gaza Strip after Israeli forces killed the leader of the militant Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Khaled Monsour, in an air strike on the refugee camp in Rafah in southern Gaza. This was followed by the arrest and detention of dozens of PIJ members by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).
Predictably, PIJ retaliated by launching a barrage of an estimated 200 plus rockets and mortar rounds from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Most of these seem to have been knocked down by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system or fell into open desert. Matters then escalated further when Israel killed another PIJ leader, Tayseer Jabari, who died along with another thirty-one Palestinians over the weekend. The total number of missiles fired in retaliation jumped to some 600.
Interestingly, there was no action taken against Hamas, the de facto governing authority in the Gaza Strip, with whom the Israelis have had numerous clashes in the past. Hamas has been deemed a terrorist organisation by the USA, UK, EU, and various other governments around the world, but it did not engage in this most recent upsurge in violence despite some casualties suffered by its members.
Indeed, Hamas encouraged the PIJ to participate in the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire which now seems to have brought peace to the region. But until Israel and the various Palestinian factions agree to a compromise solution to the seemingly endless conflict between them, there is a continuing risk of further outbreaks of fighting. Such a compromise still appears to be a long way off.