Gaza Violence: Ceasefire Agreed as Four Israelis and 23 Palestinians Were Killed
A ceasefire in the Gaza Strip has been agreed between Palestinian militants and Israel after a weekend during which Palestinians launched hundreds of rockets into Israel prompting retaliatory air and artillery strikes.
At least four Israelis and 23 Palestinians were killed.
Israel has not confirmed the ceasefire. However, reports say emergency measures have been lifted in southern Israel.
The violence flared up on May 3 during a protest against the blockade of Gaza.
A TV station run by Hamas – the militant movement which controls Gaza – announced that both sides had agreed the ceasefire, beginning at 04:30 local time.
Egypt is said to have brokered it – assisted by the UN and Qatar.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has not mentioned the ceasefire. However, the Times of Israel said that protective restrictions imposed on residents in southern Israel since the flare up began were being lifted, including schools reopening.
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Israel Targets Hamas Sites in Gaza in Retaliation for Rocket Strikes
On May 6, the IDF said militants had fired 690 rockets into southern Israel during the past 48 hours – 240 of which had been intercepted by the country’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
In response, the IDF said, Israel had targeted 350 sites belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
On May 5, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said he had ordered the military to “continue its massive strikes on terror elements” in Gaza.
Benjamin Netanyahu says the country’s forces around the strip would be “stepped up with tank, artillery and infantry forces”.
Israel had also closed all schools within 25 miles of the Gaza strip and opened some shelters to the public.
The May 6 agreement comes as the holy month of Ramadan begins for Palestinian Muslims and as Israel prepares to mark its memorial day and independence day.
Four people have so far died from the violence in Israel.
The Gaza health ministry says 23 Palestinians have died across the weekend. Most of the deaths came on Sunday. The Islamic Jihad group said seven of the dead were its members.
Civilians, including a 12-year-old boy and two pregnant women, were also among those reportedly killed.
Israel has contested the account of the death of one woman and her 14-month-old niece on Saturday. They blamed their deaths on a Palestinian rocket that fell short of its target.