Israel, Hamas agree on Gaza ceasefire, end hours-long border strikes

Hamas is the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza and has been waging a war with Israel since its founding in 1987.

Published: 21st July 2018 06:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st July 2018 08:03 AM   |  A+A-

Two Palestinian men photograph a damaged hot drink street vending carte following an Israeli airstrike hits a governmental building in Gaza City. (AP)


JERUSALEM: A day after an Israeli soldier was killed at the Gaza Strip, Israel and Hamas on Saturday announced a ceasefire ending hours-long Israeli strikes across the border.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum took to his Twitter handle and said, "With Egyptian and UN efforts, [an agreement] was reached to return to the previous situation of a ceasefire between the occupation and Palestinian factions."

Hamas is the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza and has been waging a war with Israel since its founding in 1987.

On late Friday evening, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) announced that their soldier was killed after being shot at in the Gaza Strip, The Times of Israel reported.

"Today, an IDF combat soldier was killed during operational activity near the southern Gaza Strip. During the incident, a terrorist squad shot at IDF troops and the IDF soldier was severely injured. He later succumbed to his wounds," it said in a statement.

Following this, the Israeli air force launched airstrikes at Hamas targets across the Gaza Strip.

An IDF spokesperson wrote on Twitter, "The IDF struck 60 sites in 3 Hamas battalion compounds. The targets included weapon manufacturing sites, a shaft to a tunnel network, a factory used for underground infrastructure manufacturing, a UAV warehouse, military operations room, training facilities, and observation posts."

The Palestinian health ministry previously stated that four of its nationals were killed by Israeli forces near the Gaza-Israel buffer zone on Friday. The four Palestinians were killed in two separate incidents, as per the report.

Since March 30, Israeli forces have killed over 150 Palestinians and wounded more than 13,000 people.

On May 15, the 'Great March of Return' rallies culminated to mark the anniversary of 'Nakba' or 'The Catastrophe', the forced removal of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes to clear the way for Israel's establishment in 1948.

Prior to that, a large number of Palestinians gathered to protest the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14.

The Palestinians are also demanding an end to Israel's 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has affected nearly two million people from getting access to basic needs.

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