Despite a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a rocket was fired at Israel on Sunday. It had fallen in an open area on Israeli territory, the Israeli army said. Warning sirens sounded in the surrounding areas. Residents in Ashkelon and the surrounding area heard explosions, Israeli media reported. Initially, there was no information about possible victims. The PIJ said it remained committed to the ceasefire. It was a "technical error".

Christian Meier

Political correspondent for the Middle East and Northeast Africa.

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The ceasefire came into force on Sunday night. Israel and the United States praised the mediating role of Egypt and Qatar. Israel's National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for his "intensive efforts" to end the fighting. Previously, several attempts to achieve a ceasefire had failed.

In the course of the clash last week, 35 people were killed – 34 in the Gaza Strip and one person in Israel. More than 220 people were injured. More than 50 buildings were destroyed in the Gaza Strip, the United Nations said, causing about 950 people to lose their homes. Israel had attacked numerous PIJ targets in the sealed off coastal strip since Tuesday, killing six senior commanders of the militant organization. The PIJ fired more than 1200 rockets, according to the Israeli army.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Sunday of a "successful conclusion" of a "perfect" surprise operation. Several dozen terrorists have been killed and command centers and military facilities have been destroyed. According to a government statement to Egypt, security adviser Hanegbi pointed out that Israel had agreed to the ceasefire on the condition that "calm is met with calm." Should Israel be attacked or threatened, "it will continue to do whatever it takes to defend itself."

Israel reopened two crossings with the Gaza Strip on Sunday, lifting restrictions on residents in towns around the Gaza Strip. There, people celebrated in the streets. A PIJ spokesman said that if Israel "committed any foolish act or assassination," "the resistance would continue where it left off."

PIJ leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah said in a statement that his organization had lost key leaders in the clash. He stressed that all wings of the Palestinian "resistance" against Israel were important, but did not mention Hamas by name. The ruling organization in the Gaza Strip had apparently tolerated the PIJ's attacks, but only provided rhetorical support and did not intervene in the fighting itself. Otherwise, it could have led to a longer-lasting and much more massive confrontation.