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Israel and Palestinians agree truce after Gaza clashes

Israel and Palestinians agree truce after Gaza clashes”

Palestinian militant groups in Gaza announced the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire on Tuesday after the worst flare-up in violence since the 2014 war between Hamas and Israel.

Hamas said in a statement that "the Egyptian efforts have resulted in re-enforcing the ceasefire with the Israeli occupation".

An official from Netanyahu's Likud party hit back at speculation that early elections would be called and said the prime minister would take charge of Lieberman's portfolio at least temporarily.

Avigdor Lieberman resigned from his post as defense minister on Wednesday in protest of the latest ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, criticizing it as "surrender to terrorism". In an ensuing clash, an Israeli officer and seven Palestinian militants were killed, prompting Hamas to vow revenge.

A Palestinian labourer from the occupied West Bank was killed when a rocket hit a building in the Israeli city of Ashkelon. But it did not address the deeper issues that pushed Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers toward their latest violence and left doubts about global efforts to forge a broader truce agreement.

Multiple efforts to reconcile the Palestinian factions have failed, and with an unemployment rate of 53 percent, Mladenov recently warned of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which he said was "imploding".

One diplomatic source said before the United Nations meeting that "the situation remains very precarious and can blow up again".

The strikes are retaliation, the military says, for more than 460 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza into Israel. An Israeli soldier was severely wounded.

Israel's security cabinet initially said only that it was ordering the military to continue its operations as required, but two ministers appeared to confirm that it had agreed to accept a ceasefire when they denied that they had supported it.

The fighting exploded after an Israeli unit was exposed during a covert operation inside Gaza, leading to a shootout between the Israeli soldiers and Hamas fighters.

"Within two seconds (after air sirens) we heard a huge boom, we saw our curtains flying in the air, windows (broken), and only after a few minutes when we went out, we realised that the missile had hit the building next to us", one man who lives near a block of flats hit by a rocket in Ashkelon said on Tuesday.

The sudden announcement brought relief to a region that had been paralysed by hundreds of Palestinian rocket attacks in southern Israel and scores of Israeli airstrikes on targets in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians in Gaza faced widespread destruction after the Israeli military targeted 160 sites.

"What happened was like an quake", said Abu Ayman Lemzeni, who lives near the destroyed TV building.

The latest round of violence came after months of deadly unrest along the Gaza-Israel border, but there had been progress toward restoring calm in recent weeks.

The Gaza health ministry says that 25 people have been injured. He said he also fiercely objected to Israel's allowing Qatar to deliver $15 million in aid to Gaza last week.



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