Israel and the Palestinians have started a Gaza ceasefire since Sunday night

GAZA/JERUSALEM, Aug 7 (Reuters) – Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group agreed to a Cairo-brokered ceasefire that takes effect late Sunday, both sides said, raising hopes of an end to the fiercest outbreak. Gaza border for more than a year.

Since Friday, Israeli forces have pounded Palestinian targets over the weekend, prompting long-range rocket attacks against its cities.

Islamic Jihad and the Israeli government said in separate statements that the ceasefire would take effect at 23:30 (20:30 GMT).

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The latest clashes have echoed the precedent of previous Gaza wars, although they have so far been far from being a more powerful force in the Gaza Strip than Hamas, the ruling Islamist group, and the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad.

Gaza officials say 43 Palestinians, nearly half of them civilians and including children, have been killed so far. Rockets have threatened much of southern Israel and sent residents of cities including Tel Aviv and Ashkelon into shelters.

Israel launched preemptive strikes on Friday against what it expected to be an Islamic Jihad attack in retaliation for the arrest of the group’s leader, Bassam al-Saadi, in the occupied West Bank.

In response, Islamic Jihad fired hundreds of rockets at Israel. The group said the ceasefire would include the release of al-Saadi. Israeli officials did not immediately comment.

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On Sunday, Islamic Jihad expanded its firing range toward Jerusalem in retaliation for Israel’s overnight killing of its southern Gaza commander — the second senior official it has lost in the war.

Israel fired its Iron Dome interceptor, which the military said had a 97% success rate, shooting down rockets west of the city.

After the outbreak of war in 2008-09, 2012, 2014 and last year, Palestinians stunned by yet another bloody uprising have picked through the rubble of their homes to salvage furniture or documents.

“Who wants war? No one. But we don’t want to be silent when women, children and leaders are killed,” said a Gaza taxi driver who identified himself only as Abu Mohammed. “An eye for an eye.”

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Additional reporting by Ali Sawabta Ramallah; Don Williams in Jerusalem and Ahmed Mohammed Hassan in Cairo; Written by Dan Williams; Editing by Mark Heinrich, John Stonestreet and Diane Craft

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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