Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group in Gaza have agreed to a truce that has officially been in effect since 10pm (19:00 GMT), Palestinian officials have said, signalling an end to the worst episode of cross-border fire since a 10-day war in 2021.
Egypt, which brokered the ceasefire, called on all sides to adhere to the agreement, Egypt’s Al-Qahera News television channel reported on Saturday.
“In the light of the agreement of the Palestinian and the Israeli side, Egypt announces a ceasefire between the Palestinian and the Israeli side has been reached,” read a text of the agreement seen by Reuters, and added the truce would begin at 10pm.
“The two sides will abide by the ceasefire which will include an end to targeting civilians, house demolition, an end to targeting individuals immediately when the ceasefire goes into effect,” it said.
Islamic Jihad confirmed a truce had been reached. “We declare our acceptance of the Egyptian announcement and we will abide by it as long as the occupation [Israel] abides by it,” said the group’s spokesman, Dawoud Shehab.
The Israeli military confirmed to Al Jazeera that there will be a “situational assessment” regarding the ceasefire, according to Willem Marx reporting from Ashkelon, Israel.
“[The assessment involves] probably the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, but also the Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and of course, definitely that would involve some of the senior military intelligence officials over the course of the next hour or so,” Marx said.
“The Israeli military saying to us that their determination whether the ceasefire is successful will be completely based on whether there is further rocket fire from Gaza as you can imagine,” he added.
Shortly before the truce was to take hold, Israel reported a heavy burst of Palestinian rocket fire towards southern and central Israel, while Israel said it was attacking targets inside Gaza. After the 10pm deadline, Israel reported additional rocket fire, and Israeli media said warplanes were responding.
The latest violence erupted Tuesday when Israeli air raids killed three senior Islamic Jihad commanders. Israel said the attacks were in response to a previous burst of rocket fire the previous week and that its attacks have been focused on Islamic Jihad targets.
But residents in Gaza said homes of people uninvolved in fighting also had been struck.
In response, Islamic Jihad fired more than 1,000 rockets, sending Israelis fleeing into bomb shelters.
The fighting has killed 33 Palestinians inside Gaza, including at least 13 civilians. Two people were killed by rocket fire in Israel, including an 80-year-old Israeli woman and a Palestinian man from Gaza who had a permit to work in Israel.
Islamic Jihad spurns coexistence with Israel and preaches its destruction. Top ministers of Israel’s religious nationalist government rule out any state sought by Palestinians in territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. (AlJazeera)