Gaza violence: Hamas claims cease-fire after new round of fighting with Israel


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JERUSALEM — The border between the Gaza Strip and Israel was quiet on Friday after a reported Egyptian-brokered truce calmed a deadly, two-day outburst of violence.

Al-Aqsa TV reported late Thursday local time that a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas — the Palestinian militant group the runs the strip — had been mediated by Egypt and other regional players, it said.

Israeli officials, who did not comment on the reports, say the latest round of strikes hit 150 military targets and came in response to 180 rocket launches from Gaza. Thirty rockets were intercepted by that country’s “Iron Dome” defense system.

Four Palestinians, including an unborn child, were killed over two days, according to Health Ministry officials. Ali Algandor, 30, died earlier Wednesday and overnight, a 22-year-old pregnant woman was killed along with her 1-year-old daughter, officials said. The woman’s husband was also injured.

Eleven people were wounded in the Israeli city of Sderot near northern Gaza after six rockets were fired from the strip. Israeli officials said that one woman was seriously wounded in a rocket attack, and 20 other people have also been hurt. Some of those people were admitted for shock.

Israel has fought three wars in Gaza in the last decade — the latest in 2014 — and fears are growing that a new conflict is on the way. Any cease-fire will face a test later on Friday, as Palestinians in the narrow strip of land blockaded by Israel and Egypt planned on resuming weekly border protests.

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After a quiet night, Israel’s military told residents in the south of the country who had spent much of the past two days in rocket shelters that they could return to their daily routines. The area has suffered weeks of intensifying rocket attacks and fires set by incendiary kites and explosive balloons.

Talk of a cease-fire began around July 20 after officials said gunmen killed an Israeli soldier near the border, which prompted Israeli strikes by warplanes, tanks and artillery that were said to have left at least four Palestinians dead.

The U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process called for calm in a statement on Thursday.

“For months I have been warning that the humanitarian, security and political crisis in Gaza risks a devastating conflict that nobody wants. The U.N. has engaged with Egypt and all concerned parties in an unprecedented effort to avoid such a development,” Nickolay Mladenov said.





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