The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in Gaza said it has declared a ceasefire and will cease from firing missiles at Israel, after a recent escalation of attacks between the two parties.

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, conferred with other militant factions and agreed to a ceasefire if Israel also stopped its attacks.

The Hamas Interior Ministry said the truce was designed to prevent Israeli aggression.

However, Hamas security officials noted that even after its ceasefire announced, Israeli warplanes bombed smuggling tunnels in southern Gaza and other targets in Garza City (although no casualties were reported).

Yesterday, Israeli strikes killed at least five people in Gaza and injured dozens – it was in retaliation for a Hamas anti-tank shelling of a school bus in southern Israel that wounded two.

Hamas also said that on Friday morning two of its militants were killed by another Israeli missile

attack. Another four Palestinians were hurt overnight after Israel attacked the airport in Rafah,

At least 40 Palestinians have been wounded in just the past two days.
In response to the recent spate of attacks, the Israeli military has for the first time resorted to using a new short-range missile defense – The Iron Dome -- system to destroy rockets fired from Gaza.