Hamas says Israel agreed to cease-fire after day of heavy fighting

Charlene Craig
May 30, 2018

In a rare joint statement, Hamas and Islamic Jihad said the fire was in retaliation for Israeli attacks targeting their positions.

On Wednesday, Hamas said that it and other militant groups in Gaza would agree to a ceasefire should Israel reciprocate the terms.

By Wednesday morning, however, there was some indication of a cease-fire between the sides amid several hours of quiet, though it was unclear if it would hold.

Al Hayya said in a statement early Wednesday that there had been considerable mediation efforts - an apparent reference to Egyptian-led talks - resulting in "a consensus to return to the ceasefire understandings of the Gaza Strip".

Hamas has vowed to continue the border rallies.

"The IDF is prepared for a variety of scenarios and is determined to act against terror operatives.", the IDF said.

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Hamas later admitted it had condoned the attack after a number of their fighters attacked the Israeli town of Sederot on Monday evening with heavy machine guns.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his army would react "forcefully" to the dozens of mortars fired at Israel.

"It could be that the other side is not interested in escalation", said Bennett, adding that Israel will not be the ones to cause the situation to deteriorate.

Palestinians have been holding mass marches on the Gaza frontier for the past two months in an attempt to break the blockade. Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005 but, citing security concerns, maintains tight control of its land and sea borders, which has reduced its economy to a state of collapse. Israeli forces have killed more than 100 people in those protests, including 60 in one day on May 14.

According to the military, among the targets struck by the air force were a terror tunnel that extended into Israel, Hamas drone facilities, naval bases, caches of shoulder-fired SA-7 missiles and a rocket manufacturing plant. Explosions shook the impoverished territory, which has been blockaded by Israel for more than a decade, and smoke rose from areas hit.

Egypt also restricts movement in and out of Gaza on its border.

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A growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza has pushed its residents to start protesting the untenable situation.

Separately on Tuesday morning, Palestinians launched boats from Gaza to protest Israel's blockade, in what they said would be a peaceful demonstration. "If they release the reins there will be a very painful strike", he said.

The IDF rejected that notion that a cease-fire had been reached.

The armed wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the firing and said it was in response to Israel's killing of dozens of Palestinians since 30 March, mainly in Gaza border protests.

The meeting is expected to take place at United Nations headquarters in NY on Wednesday afternoon.

"The recent attacks out of Gaza are the largest we have seen since 2014".

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