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Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad agree on Gaza truce

A truce between Israel and the militant Islamic Jihad group officially came into effect late on Saturday night, with an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire agreement meant to end the worst episode of cross-border fire since a 10-day war in 2021.

The ceasefire agreement is meant to end the worst bout of cross-border fire since a 10-day war in 2021.

Israel’s national security adviser thanked the Egyptian president for Cairo’s efforts, according to a statement from prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Quiet will be met with quiet and if Israel will be attacked or threatened, it shall continue to do what it must in order to defend itself,” the statement said.

The Joe Biden administration welcomed the ceasefire announcement between Israel and the Gaza-based militant Islamic Jihad group that was brokered by Egypt.

"The United States welcomes tonight's announcement of a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza-based militants brokered by the Egyptian government after nearly five days of fighting," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

The White House said US officials worked with regional partners to achieve the resolution and thanked Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and "critical diplomatic efforts".

The Biden administration extended its gratitude toward Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani of Qatar.

The streets of Gaza that were largely deserted filled with Palestinians as the fighting subsided. People cheered and honked cars in celebrations while others headed to the homes of people killed in the fighting to show their respect.

"In light of the agreement of the Palestinian and the Israeli side, Egypt announces a ceasefire between the Palestinian and the Israeli sides has been reached," the text of the agreement read, according to Reuters.

"The two sides will abide by the ceasefire which will include an end to targeting civilians, house demolition, an end to targeting individuals immediately when the ceasefire goes into effect," it said.

The Islamic Jihad also confirmed the agreement, adding: “We declare our acceptance of the Egyptian announcement and we will abide by it as long as the occupation (Israel) abides by it.”

The violent conflagration between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza has pitted the Israeli military against Islamic Jihad, Gaza's second-largest militant group after Hamas.

Israel launched the latest round of airstrikes in the early hours of Tuesday, announcing that it was targeting the militant commanders who had planned attacks in Israel.

The Iranian-backed group responded by firing more than 1,000 rockets, which sent Israelis fleeing into bomb shelters.

During the five days of the campaign, Israel killed six senior Islamic Jihad commanders and destroyed a number of military installations.

At least 10 civilians, including women and children, were also killed in Gaza during the fighting, and two people - an Israeli woman and a Palestinian labourer - were killed by Palestinian rocket fire in Israel.

“We want the truce to be based on principles, not like in the past when after a calm (truce) people died,” resident Munir Marouf, 43, told Reuters.