Israel & Hamas agree to ceasefire in Gaza - Hamas spokesman

On The Attack Israel Launches Wide Offensive Against Hamas in Gaza

For nearly four months, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been holding nearly daily demonstrations called "The Great March of Return" near the Gaza-Israel border.

The stepped up campaign followed "an event of the sort we can not tolerate", said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, referring to the soldier's death.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who holds little sway over Hamas, called for worldwide intervention to prevent an escalation of the violence, his office said.

Since the demonstrations began on March 30, more than 140 Palestinian protesters have been killed - and thousands more wounded - by Israeli army gunfire.

At least four Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in a fresh round of attacks on the besieged enclave.

The Israeli military declined to comment on the reported ceasefire.

Following the announcement of a ceasefire overnight, the IDF announced that Israel's Zikim beach near the border with Gaza was reopened to the public and that southern communities have been instructed to return to routine with no special security directives.

Israel says it is defending its sovereign border and accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover for attempts to breach the border fence and attack Israeli civilians and soldiers.

Israeli aircraft and tanks hit targets across the Gaza Strip on Friday after shots were fired at troops on the border, the army said, with Hamas reporting three members of its military wing killed.

"Hamas leaders are forcibly leading us into a situation where we will have no choice, a situation in which we will have to embark on a painful, wide-scale military operation", he said during a visit to the city of Sderot.

In a brief statement early Saturday, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the movement accepted the cease-fire brokered by Egyptian and United Nations officials and that calm had been restored.

The Palestinians who attempted to cross the Gaza border returned back to the enclave, causing an IDF tank to strike the Hamas observation tower in response to the infiltration attempts.

The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned on Friday evening of Israel's current escalation policy at the borders of the Gaza Strip, demanding the global community to intervene.

Explosion is seen following an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip.

Palestinians are calling to return to the homes their families were forced from in 1948, during the war surrounding the creation of Israel.

Israeli media reported Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received an emergency briefing from the army on the violence.

Yesterday, three Hamas militants were killed as air raids sent fireballs exploding into the sky over Gaza, while Israel said rockets had been fired back at its territory. There have been several small exchanges of fire this week after a shaky truce was reached last weekend, but by Friday that calm had ended.

Khalil al-Hayya, Hamas's deputy chief in Gaza, said the kites would continue to fly.

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