Gaza factions announce ceasefire with Israel
Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip announced an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Israel on Tuesday after a severe escalation of violence threatened to descend into full-blown war.
The groups, including Hamas, issued a joint statement saying they would abide by the ceasefire as long as Israel did the same. Israel had not commented on the announcement.
"Egypt's efforts have been able to achieve a ceasefire between the resistance and the Zionist enemy," the statement said.
"The resistance will respect this declaration as long as the Zionist enemy respects it."
"The Palestinian resistance is defending its people and itself before the Israeli aggression," Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in his first comments since the violence began.
"If the occupation stops its aggression, it's possible to return to the ceasefire understandings," he added.
A senior Israeli official appeared to confirm the ceasefire agreement, but said Israel would respond to any further escalation.
"Israel maintains its right to act. Requests from Hamas for a ceasefire came through four different mediators. Israel responded that the events on the ground will decide [if a ceasefire will go into effect]," the official told The Times of Israel.
Earlier, an Israeli airstrike killed Yousef Marouf, 29, bringing the death toll in Gaza over the past 24 hours to seven.
The latest round of violence began on Sunday with a botched Israeli special forces operation inside the Gaza Strip that turned deadly, killing seven Palestinians, including a senior Hamas commander.
An Israeli army officer was also killed.
Israel said the covert operation was an intelligence-gathering mission, but its timing has raised questions since progress had been made in recent weeks toward ending months of unrest along the Gaza-Israel border.
Schools were closed in the Gaza Strip and in southern Israel as both sides warned the other that it would respond forcefully to any further violence.
Agencies contributed to this report.