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Israeli Forces, Gaza exchange strikes after ceasefire comes into force – IDF

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Tel Aviv: The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have struck targets in the Gaza Strip after the Egypt-mediated ceasefire came into force, in response to rocket fire from the Palestinian side, the IDF said.

“The IDF is now attacking the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said on Twitter at around 21:00 GMT on Saturday.

Earlier on Saturday, Egyptian media reported that the ceasefire mediated by Cairo would take effect at 10 p.m. local time on Saturday (19:00 GMT). The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office confirmed in a statement that the truce was coming into force and thanked Egypt for helping secure the ceasefire.

The IDF said that two rockets were launched toward Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip on Saturday night. One of the rockets was intercepted, while the second fell in an open area. After the rocket attack, the IDF began striking targets in Gaza.

Less than an hour before the announced ceasefire was expected to come into force, the IDF said that air raid sirens sounded in central and southern Israel near the Gaza Strip.

The prime minister’s office said in its statement that National Security Council (NSC) Director Tzachi Hanegbi, on instruction from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for mediating the ceasefire. Hanegbi “made it clear that Israel’s acceptance of the Egyptian initiative means that ‘quiet will be met with quiet’, and that if Israel is attacked or threatened, it will continue to do everything that it needs to in order to defend itself.”

On Tuesday night, Israel launched the “Shield and Arrow” operation conducting airstrikes against Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants in the Gaza Strip. In response, militants of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired over 500 rockets at Israel, according to Israel Defense Forces. At least one Israeli and over 30 Palestinians have died.

As many as 139 Palestinians have been killed as a result of the Israeli operations in the Palestinian territories since the beginning of 2023, with 25 killed in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Health Ministry said on Thursday.

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