Jerusalem, July 21 (IANS) Palestinian Islamist group Hamas said on Saturday they had agreed on a ceasefire with Israel after the fatal shooting of an Israeli soldier spurred intense strikes on Gaza that left four Palestinians dead.
Egypt and the United Nations acted as mediators to arrange the cessation of hostilities, Efe quoted Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum as saying.
On Friday, Palestinian militiamen killed an Israeli soldier on the Gaza border, which has been the scene for months of massive demonstrations insisting on the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their former homes in what is now Israel.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) responded by targeting eight Hamas positions in Gaza, killing three fighters from the Islamist group’s armed wing.
Next came a “massive operation” involving airstrikes and tank fire that destroyed 60 Hamas targets, according to the IDF.
The incidents came on the 17th consecutive Friday of protests as part of what Palestinian groups call the Great March of Return.
The IDF has killed 141 Palestinians since the start of the mobilization on March 30, while Israeli farmers have seen their fields scorched by burning kites and makeshift projectiles launched from Gaza.