With Egypt, UN as mediators, Hamas and Israel declare ceasefire

On Saturday, Hamas and Israel agreed to a ceasefire, a spokesman for the Palestinian party said, after five people including an Israeli soldier were killed, reported PTI.

“With international and UN efforts, we reached (an agreement) to return to the previous state of calm between the (Israeli) occupation and the Palestinian factions,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement.

Both Egypt and the UN acted as mediators, the spokesman quoted.

Earlier on Friday, an Israel solider was killed by Palestinian fighters on the Gaza border. In July, Israel had closed the main cargo crossing, Kerem Shalom. The crossing would only be opened for ‘humanitarian equipment’ to be sent through- including food and medicine.

The military said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had ordered the closure of Kerem Shalom on Monday in “retaliation to the arson attacks by Palestinians”.

“In light of the ongoing arson terror and additional terror attempts, led by the Hamas terror organization,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu vowed to ‘use a heavy hand against Hamas’, a Palestinian militant group dominating Gaza, not giving further details.

A spokesman of Hamas called the move, “a new crime against humanity”.

Gisha, an Israeli based NGO has also condemned the action, saying, “The damage being caused to agricultural lands in Israel is grave and deplorable, but collectively punishing nearly two million people in Gaza by closing its only official crossing for the movement of goods is both illegal and morally depraved.”

Since April, Israel has alleged that Palestinians have been launching burning fuel and explosive devices over the Gaza-Israel border through kites and balloons.

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