Israel and Hamas Reach Cease-fireCOLlive

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GAZA CITY: Four people were killed in Israel and 19 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, Palestinian and Israeli authorities said, during the most serious escalation since a 2014 war.

"I don't think that something like that is necessarily on the immediate horizon, and I don't know that anything quite that big is ever going to happen - certainly not under [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, who doesn't like that sort of action". Under past Egyptian-brokered deals, Israel has agreed to ease its joint blockade of Gaza with Egypt in exchange for a halt to rocket fire.

Another died in a rocket attack in Ashdod.

Days later, on Friday, Israeli forces killed four Palestinians in a single day: two during Great March of Return protests on the borders, and two in an airstrike targeting a Hamas military post. It said it shelled or carried out air strikes on some 320 militant sites. The latest round of violence began two days ago when an Islamic Jihad sniper fired at Israeli troops, wounding two soldiers, according to the Israeli military.

"The campaign is not over and it demands patience and good judgment. We are prepared to continue". The goal was and remains to ensure quiet and security for residents of the South.

There was little enthusiasm for the ceasefire in Israeli rocket-hit communities near Gaza. "That, in turn, led to an onslaught of mortar and rocket fire from within Gaza, unraveling the tenuous calm".

As Air Force Colonel Patrick Ryder told reporters at the time, "Hussain also was responsible for releasing personally identifiable information of about 1,300 US military and government employees, and he "specifically sought" to direct violence against USA service members and government employees.".

"This is a very tough Ramadan".

"We see Iranian fingerprints mostly in the Gaza Strip focused on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad but not limited to... that materializes in money weapons logistic support, military training and of course political guidance".

The Islamic Jihad official said the new truce agreement was again based on Israel easing its blockade. The two terrorist groups said in a joint statement that they were considering firing rockets to cities over 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Gaza strip. Among the steps, he said, were the relaxing of limits on fishing and improvements in Gaza's electricity and fuel situation.

There was no official word from Israel on any bargaining behind the ceasefire.

Hamas and other factions inside Gaza vowed to hit back.

Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett reports.

Gaza's health ministry said the dead from the Israeli strikes included a 14-month-old baby and a pregnant woman, 37.

In reaction to the ongoing air strikes, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence stated that "We strongly condemn the attacks in Gaza by Hamas terrorists".

"When we have the upper hand, we need once and for all to finish the terror because this will repeat itself and will not stop", said Jacque Mendel, a resident of the coastal city of Ashdod, where a man was killed in his vehicle by a rocket Sunday night.

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment on the deal, but there appeared to have been no rocket fire or Israeli strikes after it was due to take effect, an AFP correspondent in Gaza said.

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