Islamic Jihad chief lays out ceasefire demands as rockets batter south

As the second day of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad came to a tumultuous close Wednesday night, the group’s Damascus-based Secretary General Ziad Nakhala indicated for the first time that the terror group was open to a ceasefire.

The latest fighting began after Israel killed Baha Abu al-Ata, a senior commander in the terror group’s military wing, in a pre-dawn Tuesday airstrike. Israeli officials say Abu Ata was preparing multiple terror attacks against Israelis.

In response, the group launched at least 360 rockets at Israeli cities, according to a Wednesday night count by Israeli officials. The IDF has responded to the fire with waves of airstrikes targeting the terror group’s installations and rocket-launching squads. Gaza health officials say 26 Gazans have died in the strikes, at least 13 of them fighters. Israel says the great majority are PIJ fighters.

In a Wednesday night interview with the pro-Hezbollah Lebanese television station Al-Mayadeen — PIJ, like Hezbollah, are allied with Iran — Nakhala said the terror group had laid out ceasefire conditions during talks in Egypt, which he said Israel would have to accept to achieve a ceasefire.