Israel, Islamic Jihad agree to ceasefire in Gaza

Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad has reached a ceasefire with Israel after at least 32 Palestinians, including a 7-year-old boy and two other minors were killed by during two days of Israeli raids on the Gaza Strip.Spokesman Musab al Berim said the Egyptian-brokered deal went into effect at 0330 GMT.He said the ceasefire was based on a list of demands presented by his group late on Wednesday, including a halt to Israeli targeted killings of the group’s leaders.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also claimed that Iran is using Iraq and far-off Yemen, where Tehran supports Shia Houthi rebels at war with a Saudi-led coalition backing the government, to plan attacks against Israel.

UN envoy in Cairo

UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov arrived in Cairo on Wednesday afternoon, airport officials said, following reports he was to hold talks on halting the fighting.The UN and Egypt have been instrumental in mediating previous ceasefires between Israel and Gaza-based militants.But a source close to the discussions aimed at mediating a truce warned that the risk of further escalation remained high.

Netanyahu said Islamic Jihad must stop its stop rocket attacks or "absorb more and more blows".He reiterated his warning that "this could take time" and said Israel would respond to attacks "without mercy".Islamic Jihad spokesman Musab al Barayem said the group was not interested in mediation for now as it retaliated to the killing of one of its commanders.The flare-up raised fears of a new all-out conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, who have fought three wars since 2008.

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