A ceasefire has come into effect in and around the Gaza Strip after five days of cross-border exchanges that killed at least 33 Palestinians and two people in Gaza. israel,

Egyptian and Palestinian sources said the ceasefire was due to take effect at 10 pm local time (20.00 BST) on Saturday. But just 30 minutes before the last, dozens of rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel, prompting renewed airstrikes, AFP correspondents in the area said.

Most of the rockets were intercepted by Israeli air defenses.

Egypt, a longtime intermediary GazaEgypt secured the agreement of both Israel and the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad to its latest ceasefire proposal, an Egyptian security official said.

A statement from Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office said, “Israeli National Security Adviser Tshahi Hanegbi … thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and expressed Israel’s appreciation for Egypt’s vigorous efforts to broker a ceasefire.” Did.”

He said Israel’s response to Egypt’s initiative meant “silence will be answered by silence, and if Israel is attacked or threatened it will continue to do everything it can to defend itself”. Need to”.

A Palestinian source confirmed the agreement to Islamic Jihad.

“We want to thank Egypt for its efforts,” Mohammed al-Hindi, an official in Islamic Jihad’s political department, told AFP. He has been in Cairo since the fighting began on Tuesday.

On Saturday, Israel ramped up Gaza again with airstrikes targeting the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad after a new barrage of rocket fire hit Israel to mark the funeral of its military commander Iyad al-Hassani. , who was killed on Friday.

For days, sirens warning of airstrikes and incoming rocket fire have been a daily routine in Israeli communities in Gaza and near the border.

Residents of the crowded Gaza Strip huddled indoors as the fighting intensified, with streets empty and only a few shops and drugstores open.

“The entire Palestinian people are suffering,” 58-year-old Muhammad Muhana told AFP in the ruins of his home. “What have we done?”

In Deir al-Bala in the central Gaza Strip, a dead donkey lies among the ruins of a row of buildings leveled in the Israeli attack.

“Nobody is safe in their homes,” said Imad Rayyan, 64.

A spokesman for the interior ministry in Gaza said the Israeli army had focused on “targeting civilians, residential and civilian buildings” on the final day of its operation.

Israel’s closest ally, the U.S. There were growing calls to agree to an armistice, including.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, in a call to Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, “emphasized the urgent need to reach a ceasefire agreement to prevent any loss of civilian life”, according to the State Department. he said.

Egypt continued its mediation efforts despite repeated setbacks.

On Saturday, shrapnel from a Gaza-fired rocket hit a construction site in Sdot Negev, just over the border with Israel, killing one person and injuring another. Both were daily wage laborers from Gaza.

Islamic Jihad said its fighters were carrying out “missile attacks on Israeli cities” in revenge for Israeli “killings” of their commanders and attacks on populated areas.

The exchange of fire occurred after the Palestinian Health Ministry reported the deaths of two men, aged 19 and 32, in an Israeli army raid on a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus.

The Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the two men killed in the raid were members of its armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

The current bout of violence flared up on Tuesday when three prominent members of Islamic Jihad were killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza. Three other senior figures of the Palestinian militant group were killed in subsequent attacks.

They are among at least 33 killed in fighting inside Gaza, according to the territory’s health ministry.

There have been two deaths in Israel, one of them a daily wage worker from Gaza.

The army said about 1,100 rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel in the current fighting, of which 300 were intercepted by its air defences.

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