Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and the de facto government in the Gaza strip, has reportedly agreed to an Egypt-mediated ceasefire with Israel, BBC reported Friday, citing a source.
Egyptian officials have been successful in brokering a truce between Hamas and Israel and the ceasefire is expected to be announced soon, according to the report. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reasserted that the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF, would only act against further rocket fire from Gaza.
“If fire toward our town ceases, so shall our actions,” he said.
Quoting the source, BBC reported that Hamas is ready to stop rocket fire “in return for an assurance that Israel would stop air raids.” The IDF, on the other hand, has argued that their rocket fire has been purely retaliatory in nature and that it was only taking up “defence positions” along the Gaza border.
Gaza has been gripped with violence since the bodies of three Israeli teenagers, missing since June 12, were recovered near Hebron on June 30. While Netanyahu has blamed Hamas for the deaths, the group has consistently denied any involvement.
The situation in Gaza deteriorated further following the kidnap and murder of 17-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdair, a Palestinian who was killed in Jerusalem on Wednesday, allegedly to avenge the deaths of the Israeli teenagers.
His funeral, which was supposed to take place on Thursday, has already been delayed so that a post-mortem examination can be completed. This has added to the simmering tensions in Jerusalem, leading to a number of clashes between masked Palestinians and the police.
A ceasefire announcement prior to the funeral later today is expected to calm the mood and prevent further violence.
If announced, the ceasefire would come at a time when Israel has strengthened its military presence along the Gaza border and has launched several air strikes into Gaza, allegedly in response to mortar and rocket fire from Hamas. In an air strike early Thursday, 10 Palestinians were reportedly injured. This was followed by gunfire near the Israeli border town of Sderot.