De facto Ceasefire in Gaza Strip After 24 Hours of Intense Fighting Between Hamas and Israel
Israel's tanks and air-crafts fired 60 missiles at targets in the Gaza Strip. Photo is shot by a resident (Photo: Twitter @ahmedjnena2)

On May 28-29, Gaza strip saw a barrage of rockets launched by Hamas into Israel to which Israel responded with missile attacks at 50 targets in the enclave. However, at night Hamas announced that it was putting into effect a ceasefire which would also be followed by other armed groups. Israeli officials too said ‘quiet’ would be responded with ‘quiet’.

The Israeli military said it hit drone storage facilities, military compounds, and rocket and munition workshops across the Gaza Strip. The overnight Hamas rocket fire reached the Israeli city of Netivot for the first time since the 2014 war. A home was struck, but no one was wounded.

The Israeli government had yet to comment on the ceasefire offer but Khalil al-Hayya, Hamas's deputy chief in Gaza, said the group was committed to a truce as long as Israel was. "A number of mediators intervened in the past hours, and an agreement was reached to return to a ceasefire in Gaza", Hayya said in a statement.

Hours earlier, a Hamas-affiliated Twitter account announced that the group had agreed to return to an understanding on a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip so long as the "occupier" did the same.

Israel's Intelligence Minister Israel Katz dismissed suggestions of an agreement. "There is no ceasefire," he told Israeli radio Wednesday morning, adding, "there is a clear Israeli policy not to allow shooting, attacks and violence against Israeli citizens."

Aljazeera reported there have been no instances of launches or strikes from either side since 5 a.m. local on Wednesday, suggesting a de facto ceasefire was in place even if there was no formal agreement.

Gaza’s border area with Israel has been tense in recent weeks as Palestinians have held mass protests aimed at lifting an Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after Hamas seized power in 2007. The protests were named ‘Great March of Return’ as Palestinians also demanded the return of land appropriated by Israel.

Israeli fire has killed more than 110 Palestinians and injured thousands, most of them during the Hamas-led protests, which climaxed on May 14.