Gaza truce holds as Israel warns of Iran influence

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went before parliament on Wednesday evening and tied the conflict in Gaza to the Jewish state’s ongoing tension with Iran. (Reuters)

A fragile truce that ended four days of violence between Israel and Gaza militants appeared to be largely holding on Wednesday, despite sporadic rocket fire and air raids.

Israeli police said militants fired one projectile from Gaza on Wednesday, but it landed in Palestinian territory. On Tuesday, in the hours after the truce was announced, police said eight rockets and mortars were fired into Israel.

In the early hours of Wednesday, Israeli warplanes carried out two strikes that they said were in response to Tuesday’s rocket fire, targeting “two terror activity sites in the northern Gaza Strip.”

Palestinian security sources confirmed one strike, saying it set ablaze a woodyard without causing any injuries.

On Wednesday, Palestinian officials also said a seven-year-old child, Baraka al-Mughrabi, had died after sustaining a bullet wound to the head after mourners fired guns at a funeral on Saturday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went before parliament on Wednesday evening and tied the conflict in Gaza to the Jewish state’s ongoing tension with Iran and its nuclear programme, which Israel says masks a weapons drive.

He accused Israel’s opposition, which supported the withdrawal of Israeli settlers and troops from inside Gaza in 2005, of having given Iran the chance to take over the territory.

“They put Iran into Gaza and we will take it out,” he said.

“What’s happening in Gaza is Iran. Where do the missiles come from? Iran. Where does the money come from? Iran. Who trains the terrorists? Iran. Who builds the infrastructure? Iran. And often who gives the orders? Iran.”

“Gaza is an advance post for Iran,” he said.

“I hope that the whole world today understands that the terrorists organisations in Gaza, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and also Hezbollah in Lebanon, are sheltered by the Iranian umbrella.”

“Can you imagine what would happen if that umbrella was nuclear?”

Netanyahu on Tuesday warned the truce, agreed after four days of violence, would be short-lived if rocket fire resumed.

“Calm will bring calm. Anyone who disturbs it, or even tries to disturb it, will be in our gun sights,” he said.

The truce, mediated with Cairo, ended the violence that began on Friday with Israel’s assassination of a senior Palestinian militant. Militants responded by firing hundreds of rockets into the Jewish state.

Under the terms of the truce agreement, both Israel and militants from Islamic Jihad, who were responsible for most of the rocket attacks, had agreed to hold their fire.

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