Hamas claims cease-fire after new round of fighting with Israel

Tens of thousands of people have rallied in central Tel Aviv

Over the past four months, 163 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including at least 120 protesters, according to the Gaza Health Ministry and a local rights group.

Shortly after, an Israeli airstrike flattened the five-story cultural centre in the Shati refugee camp, a crowded district of Gaza City.

Israelis stand and inspect surrounding damages outside the cordoned area where a rocket fired by militants from the Gaza Strip fell and created a small crater in the southern Israeli town of Sderot on 9 August 2018.

Since then Hamas had been talking about a long-term truce with Israel which would include the full opening of the Keren Shalom border crossing which is used for the import of Israeli goods.

Abu Mujahed, spokesman of the Popular Resistance Committee, a smaller faction in Gaza, said on his Facebook page: "Upon Egyptian and worldwide efforts, a ceasefire between Palestinian resistance began conditional on the commitment of the occupation".

Public pressure in Israel to take more decisive military action is building.

Before the Gazan decision to halt fire, rockets and mortars targeting Israel had continued sporadically on Thursday morning as had Israeli strikes in parts of the Gaza Strip.

At least three Palestinians died in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in a CNN report.

Israeli Cabinet minister for construction and housing, Yoav Gallant, said that "whatever is needed to be done to defend our civilians and soldiers, will be done, no matter what would be the price in Gaza".

After four hours of discussion about the escalation in the south and the hard situation in which Israelis there are living, Israel's Ministerial Committee on National Security instructed the IDF to "continue to act with force against terrorist elements".

"The principle of returning [captured] soldiers, alive, wounded or dead - is a principle we all grew up on, and must not allow to be lost", he said.

But the ceasefire will face its first test later in the day, as Palestinians in Gaza planned on resuming weekly border protests, which at times have become violent. "I am sure the residents of the Gaza border communities are strong and we call on them to continue to listen to the instructions of the Home Front Command", Head of the Southern Command Maj.

Israel's Iron Dome defense system intercepted more than 30 rockets, and others landed in open areas in southern Israel, said the IDF.

Mladenov warned that "if the current escalation however is not contained immediately, the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people".

"Everyday life in besieged Gaza is shaped by Israeli policy", IMEU added, posting a video compilation that captures the living conditions of millions of the almost two million people living in the occupied Gaza Strip.

Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus insisted Israel only targeted Hamas military targets in Gaza.

The Israeli security cabinet and the Hamas leadership convened separately late on Thursday, with the truce offer brokered by Egypt and the United Nations on the table. The headline also is flawed by a murky portrayal of events: "Clashes Between Israel and Gaza". This comes less than 24 hours after Israeli airstrikes killed three Palestinians on Wednesday night.

As Israeli airstrikes persist and the living situation gravely worsens, Palestinians in Gaza are on the brink of a full-blown humanitarian crisis due to Israel's 10-year siege.

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