Palestinians said Thursday they had recovered the bodies of two militants from a tunnel damaged during an Israeli airstrike on Gaza, raising the death toll in the territory to 10 since Monday.
Thaer Mohammad al-Bik, 30, and Mohammad Zuhair al-Khaldi, 26, were killed by gas fumes as they carried out an inspection of the tunnel hit by Israeli fire Tuesday, said the military wing of the Gaza Strip’s ruling Hamas movement .
Gaza militants continued to fire across the border into Israel Thursday but the intensity was sharply down on the previous day, as a cease-fire declared by Hamas’ Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades military wing appeared to be taking hold.
By mid-afternoon, nine rockets had hit southern Israel, causing no casualties, a military spokeswoman told AFP. Another was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system.
There had been no Israeli raids.
Police logged 58 rocket and mortar strikes Wednesday.
Late that evening, Hamas’ military wing said it had agreed to an Egyptian-brokered truce with Israel, after three days of bloodshed in and around Gaza.
“In response to the Egyptian efforts to try to stop the aggression on our people, we at Al-Qassam Brigades and all resistance factions declare our commitment to stop this round of confrontation, as long as [Israel] commits to stopping its crimes,” the group said in a statement.
The latest round of Israeli attacks and Palestinian retaliation began with airstrikes Monday morning, hours after gunmen from the Sinai carried out an ambush along Israel’s southern border with Egypt, killing an Israeli civilian.
Israel has said that its sudden spike in Gaza operations – three deadly air raids in just over 12 hours – was “in no way related” to the border incident, with the military saying the air force was targeting militants about to attack the Jewish state.
Since Monday, 130 rockets and mortar rounds have been fired at Israel, of which three have been brought down by Iron Dome, an army spokeswoman told AFP. One rocket slammed into an Israeli border police post, wounding four people.
The Hamas military wing said in its statement Thursday that it had fired 120 rockets, a rare show of force from the Islamist group that had been observing a de facto truce.