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Palestinian militants agree ceasefire with Israel

28 October 2018

IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus said Saturday that Israel believes orders to launch the rockets came from Damascus with "clear involvement of Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force".

Israel's Iron Dome rocket-defence system intercepted 13 rockets, two landed in Gaza and the remainder fell in open spaces in southern Israel, according to Conricus.

The Islamic Jihad group, a militant faction operating in the Hamas-ruled Gaza but that has close ties to Iran and Syria, said they agreed to Egyptian mediation efforts and halted the rocket fire, the heaviest to emanate from Gaza in months.

Israel has bombed dozens of targets in Gaza after being hit by rockets from the region.

A spokesperson for the militants said an Egyptian-mediated truce had been reached.

"We expect to reach an agreement very soon", a senior Hamas official said earlier Friday on condition of anonymity.

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Five Palestinians were killed on Friday as fresh clashes broke out with Israeli troops on Gaza's border with the Jewish state, despite Egyptian-brokered truce efforts, the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave said.

The army said the targets included military and weapons manufacturing facilities through the Strip, a factory in Khan Younis producing cement used in subterranean tunnels and a four-story building in Gaza City headquartering Hamas security services.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008 and much of the worldwide community considers the Islamist movement a terrorist organisation.

But in northern Gaza, the Health Ministry said that the main hospital in the area was damaged after a nearby Hamas training camp was hit.

A sixth died when a hand grenade he was holding exploded accidentally, witnesses said.

The report comes after Egypt and the United Nations exerted pressure on Israel to restore calm between the IDF and Hamas.

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They are also protesting over Israel's crippling blockade of Gaza.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman meets with IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and other top military officers at Israel Defense Forces headquarters in Tel Aviv on October 27, 2018.

Palestinian security sources in Gaza said that an Israeli warplane destroyed a 4-floor building in Gaza City and leveled it to the ground, adding that the building was empty at the time and no injuries were reported.

Israel also fully reopened its border crossings with the Gaza Strip this week following a week of relative calm.

On Wednesday, Israel allowed the resumption of fuel transfers into Gaza that are financed by Qatar.

Israel says its blockade is necessary to isolate Hamas, while critics say it amounts to collective punishment of Gaza's two million residents.

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Palestinian militants agree ceasefire with Israel