After another night of rocket fire, and heavy shelling, Israel and Hamas were reported to have agreed to an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire which was meant to kick off in the early hours of Monday morning.
The ceasefire proposal was reached late Sunday night following a proposal by the UN, Qatar and Egypt which have been holding around-the-clock negotiations between the warring sides.
Twenty-three Palestinians, including two pregnant women and a toddler, and four Israelis were killed in two days of fighting which involved rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and various other Palestinian factions, and the Israeli military shelling a total of 320 targets in Gaza by air and sea.
Israel also resumed targeted assassinations, a policy it has not followed since the last major round of hostilities in 2014.
Hamas confirmed Hamed Al Khoudary, a senior official in the organisation, was killed and three others seriously injured, when the car they were driving in was targeted by the Israelis.
Schools across the south of Israel were cancelled and are expected to remain closed over the next few days.
Several thousand Israelis have also spent the last few days in bomb shelters – a luxury Palestinian civilians in Gaza do not have with two million Palestinians crammed into the coastal territory measuring 365 square metres.
The Tamar offshore gas field was also ordered to temporarily halt production on Sunday by Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz who cited “security reasons”.
The natural gas is pumped through a rig situated some 20km from the coast of Ashkelon in Israel’s south, using only one pipe. Authorities have admitted the rig was targeted in the past.
– African News Agency