Hamas announced a ceasefire with Israel

Hamas announced a ceasefire with Israel

Hamas announced a ceasefire with Israel

One of the mortars landed in an Israeli kindergarten, Conricus said, while the Hamas-run Gaza Education Ministry said a school in the central Gaza Strip was badly damaged by the Israeli strikes.

Tel Aviv has waged three wars on the coastal enclave since 2008, including the 2014 offensive, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead. A number of them were intercepted by air defence systems.

No Palestinian or Israeli injuries have been reported from the exchange of fire.

Israel has long said it would not tolerate such attacks from Gaza.

"After the resistance succeeded in confronting the [Israeli] aggression ... there was a lot of mediation in the past hours", senior Hamas leader Khalil al-Hayya said in a statement.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett denied the truce and said that the government had not "reached an agreement with Hamas, not even an informal agreement".

For his part, however, Energy Minster Yuval Steinitz told Kan Reshet Bet Radio on Wednesday morning that he believes understandings have been reached with Hamas, but Intelligence Affairs Minister Yisrael Katz told the same station that there are no such understandings and no cease-fire.

The United States condemned the attacks out of Gaza and called for an urgent meeting of the U.N. Security Council. Explosions shook the Palestinian enclave and smoke rose from areas hit. Israeli officials signaled they aren't looking for escalation, but warned that continued firing from Gaza could lead to a harsher Israeli response.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad also started to evacuate military bases and installations across Gaza in anticipation of the Israeli retaliation. He said Islamic Jihad did not want the violence to escalate and blamed Israel for the flare-up.

Three Israeli soldiers were injured in Tuesday's barrages, two lightly and a third moderately, the army said.

Separately on Tuesday morning, Palestinians launched boats from Gaza to protest Israel's blockade, in what they said would be a peaceful demonstration.

The current Israeli assessment of the situation is that Hamas is not interested in continuing the conflict after IDF destroyed most of its rocket production capabilities, and is actually making every possible effort to end the conflict.

The Israeli action had prompted Palestine to askthe International Criminal Court (ICC) to open an "immediate investigation" into Israeli "crimes" committed against the Palestinian people. A Palestinian official said that Egypt had meditated the agreement, but the terms of the "understanding" did not go beyond "a restoration of calm by both sides".

This includes Israeli settlement policies in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as the recent round of bloodshed in the Gaza, where Israeli fire killed over 100 Palestinians during mass protests along the Gaza border, Malki added.

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