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Official: Gaza ceasefire in effect

March 13, 2014 2:56 P.M. (Updated: March 16, 2014 10:43 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A senior Islamic Jihad official said Thursday that Egypt had managed to reactivate a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.

Khalid al-Batsh highlighted that his movement would adhere with the ceasefire "on condition that the occupation adheres."

"After prompt Egyptian efforts, the terms of the 2012 ceasefire were reactivated Thursday."

A major eight-day confrontation in November 2012 between Israel and militants from Gaza claimed the lives of 177 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and six Israelis.

Hamas official Ghazi Hamad said Hamas had not been officially notified of the agreement.

Before the announcement Thursday, Israeli warplanes struck several targets in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, security and medical sources told Ma’an.

Locals in Rafah told Ma’an that airstrikes targeted a smuggling tunnel under the borders with Egypt. Three Palestinians were injured in the strike.

Israeli jets also fired missiles at an open area in Rafah. No casualties were reported.

A spokesman of the Hamas-run ministry of health in Gaza Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma'an that three Palestinian citizens were injured in the airstrike which targeted a tunnel in Rafah.

He confirmed that one victim sustained critical wounds and the two others suffered minor injuries.

In a statement, Israel's military confirmed seven strikes and said they were in response to rocket fire.

"Since yesterday there has seen a substantial deterioration in the safety of the residents in southern Israel. We have responded and will continue to do so in order to eliminate threats as they develop. This is our obligation and responsibility to those exposed to Gaza terrorism," army spokesman Peter Lerner said.

The statement said that two rockets hit southern Israel on Thursday. Approximately 65 have hit Israeli territory since Wednesday, out of which five hit populated areas, it said.
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