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Israel, Gaza militants agree to halt fire

Reuters

August 26, 2011 | 8:25 am

Israeli soldiers transport a comrade who was injured during an ambush on a civilian bus north of the Red Sea resort of Eilat, as they arrive at a hospital in the southern city of Beersheva Aug. 18. Photo by REUTERS/Dudu Grunshpan

Israeli soldiers transport a comrade who was injured during an ambush on a civilian bus north of the Red Sea resort of Eilat, as they arrive at a hospital in the southern city of Beersheva Aug. 18. Photo by REUTERS/Dudu Grunshpan

Israel and Islamic Jihad militants agreed to halt fire on Friday after days of deadly cross border violence, a Palestinian official said.

Eight Palestinians, including a local commander of the Islamic Jihad in Gaza, were killed since a truce was called on Monday, raising to 26 the number of Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes in the past week.

An Israeli man has also been killed in rocket attacks launched by Gaza militants since the weekend.

The Palestinian official who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Israel and the Islamic Jihad group both told Cairo they would abide by the Egyptian and United Nations mediated truce announced on Monday.

A statement issued overnight by Taher al-Nono, spokesman of the Hamas government in Gaza, said his administration held talks with Egypt and the United Nations to press Israel to stop attacks and urged factions to stop rocket fire into Israel.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said no rockets had been fired from Gaza since Thursday.

The surge of violence began on Aug. 18 when gunmen who Israel said had infiltrated from Gaza via Egypt’s neighbouring Sinai desert killed eight Israelis on a desert border road.

Seven of the attackers were killed by Israeli forces and Egypt said five of its men died in the crossfire.

Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Jon Hemming

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