An Egyptian-brokered cease-fire appears to be holding for the moment along the Israel-Gaza border on Wednesday following the most intensive round of Palestinian rocket attacks and Israeli retaliatory airstrikes since a 2014 war.
Ahead of the unofficial truce, Hamas, the dominant group in Gaza, along with Islamic Jihad, fired scores of rockets and mortar shells into Israel Tuesday, setting off Israeli air raid sirens near the border throughout the day and night.
However, the attacks — as well as Israeli airstrikes on militant sites inside Gaza — fell silent by daybreak.
Reuters reports, "Schools opened as usual in Israeli towns near the frontier where rocket warning sirens sounded frequently on Tuesday. Gaza's streets were filled with morning shoppers and children went to class."
Hamas' deputy chief in Gaza, Khalil al-Hayya, using the militant group's term for Israel, said in a statement that, "An agreement was reached to return to the (2014) ceasefire understandings in the Gaza Strip. The resistance factions will abide by it as long as the Occupation does the same."
"Israel stopped short of officially confirming any formal truce with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which it regards along with the West as terrorist [organizations].
"But it launched no new attacks on Wednesday and [signaled] it was prepared to halt the hostilities if the cross-border barrages ended. Israeli officials declared that militants had been dealt a strong blow.
" 'Firing has stopped since the morning and Israel conveyed a message that if it resumes, the attacks on Hamas and its associates will be even stronger,' Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said on Israel Radio, according to Reuters. 'It all depends on Hamas.' "