GAZA CITY, Palestine
An Egyptian-brokered cease-fire in the Gaza Strip between Israel and the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad took effect late on Sunday at 11.30 p.m. local time (2030GMT).
The cease-fire agreement came after three days of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, which left at least 44 Palestinians dead and over 360 others injured, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Sources had earlier told Anadolu Agency that Israel and Islamic Jihad had agreed to a cease-fire in Gaza to start at 11.30 p.m.
Egypt also called on both sides to observe a mutual and comprehensive truce in Gaza at that time.
An official Egyptian source cited by the state news agency MENA said Egypt was exerting efforts to release Palestinian prisoner Khalil Awawdeh and transport him for treatment, as well as Bassam Al-Saadi, who is also in Israeli detention.
Awawdeh, 40, was arrested by Israeli forces in December and held without trial. He has reportedly been on hunger strike for around a month as he remained in jail without charges.
Saadi, a senior figure in Islamic Jihad’s political wing, was detained by Israeli forces earlier this week in a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin.
The Islamic Jihad, for its part, confirmed the cease-fire in Gaza.
“A cease-fire has been reached by Egyptian mediation that will take effect at 23.30 Palestinian time,” group spokesman Dauwd Shehab had told Anadolu Agency.
Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said the military offensive in Gaza “achieved its goals.”
Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes in the Gaza Strip on Friday citing what the army said was an “imminent threat of attacks” by the Islamic Jihad.
Of those killed, at least 15 were children and four women, according to the Health Ministry.
Last year, Egypt managed to broker a cease-fire to end 11 days of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, in which more than 200 Palestinians were killed and thousands injured.
Thirteen Israelis were also killed by Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza during the course of the conflict.
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