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Gaza ceasefire agreed after Israeli airstrikes kill over 30 Palestinians Open in fullscreen

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Gaza ceasefire agreed after Israeli airstrikes kill over 30 Palestinians

A Palestinian woman inspects the rubble of her destroyed home in Khan Younis, Gaza [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 November, 2019

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An Egypt-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Gaza militants came into effect on Thursday morning after the death toll of Israeli strikes reached 32 as they entered their third day.

A Gaza Strip ceasefire agreement was agreed in the early hours of Thursday, coming into effect at 5:30am (3:30 GMT), according to Egyptian and Islamic Jihad sources.

The "ceasefire agreement comes as a result of Egypt's efforts" and has been endorsed by "Palestinian factions including Islamic Jihad", said an Egyptian official, later confirmed by a source from the Palestinian militant group.

The agreement was imposed just hours after a Palestinian family of six was confirmed killed by an Israeli strike on their home in the southern Gaza Strip.

"Six members of the Abu Malhous family, including three children and two women, were killed in an Israeli strike on their family home in Deir al-Balah in the southern Gaza Strip," the Palestinian ministry of health said.

The deaths bring the toll from Israeli strikes claimed to be targeting Islamic Jihad militant sites to 32 since Tuesday, while 350 retaliatory rockets have been fired at Israel, according to Israeli military data.

The airstrikes began in the early hours of Tuesday when Israel bombed the home of a senior Islamic Jihad militant, killing him and his wife.The militants in return fired barrages of rockets at southern Israel, which responded in turn with air and artillery strikes on what it claimed to be Islamic Jihad militant sites and rocket-launching squads in Gaza, however have killed a number of civilians.

The United Nations condemned Israel's attacks on Palestinians in Gaza on Wednesday, adding that it was attempting to de-escalate the conflict between Islamic Jihad fighters and Israel.

Social media was filled with tributes to those killed, including 8-year-old Ameer Ayad, who was killed by a bomb along with his father and brother.

Despite UN and Egyptian mediation, the risk of further escalation remains.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Islamic Jihad must stop its rocket attacks or "absorb more and more blows".

Comment: Israel: the country that loves US handouts but hates US criticism

Just hours before the ceasefire, Islamic Jihad said it intended to target Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with its rockets.

Islamic Jihad is the second most-powerful militant group in the Gaza Strip after Hamas and has taken responsibility for rocket fire.

Gaza since 2007 experienced three devastating wars with Israel – in 2007, 2012 and 2014. The wars, along with a brutal 12 year blockade has left the besieged enclave devastated.

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