Palestinians agree Gaza ceasefire


Palestinian leaders in Gaza agreed a ceasefire with Israel early on Monday, three officials with knowledge of the talks said, after the most serious flare-up since a 2014 war.

Egypt brokered an agreement to cease hostilities from 4:30 am local time, an official from the strip's Islamist rulers Hamas and another from its allied group Islamic Jihad said on condition of anonymity. An Egyptian official also confirmed the deal on condition of anonymity.

An Israeli army spokeswoman had no comment. Israel has not publicly confirmed previous such ceasefire deals.

An agency correspondent in Gaza said the situation had been calm since the time of the supposed ceasefire. There appeared to have been no Palestinian rocket fire or Israeli airstrikes.

The Islamic Jihad official said the truce agreement was based on Israel easing its blockade of the Gaza Strip. Among the steps, he said, were the easing of limits on fishing and improvements in Gaza's electricity and fuel situation.

Wissam Zoghbar, an official with the smaller Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Gaza, said in a statement the deal would see Israel cease all strikes on Gaza.

The escalation began on Saturday with massive rocket fire from Gaza, drawing waves of Israeli retaliatory strikes and continued throughout Sunday. At least 23 Palestinians, including at least nine militants, were killed.

Four civilians in Israel were killed, at least three of them Israeli citizens.    (AFP)

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