Egypt has announced it has been working with both Israel and Hamas since Wednesday to prevent an escalation and continued attacks on the Gaza Strip.
According to an Egyptian source, Egypt is continuing its communication with various actors in order to restore the calm and prevent further flare-ups.
The Israeli army has struck some 150 targets in Gaza in retaliation to a massive barrage of rockets that was fired at Israel since Wednesday evening. Some 200 rockets were fired at Israel.
Three Palestinians were killed by the Israeli attacks, including a pregnant woman, 23, her 18-month-old toddler and a man, who was identified as 30-year-old Ali Alrandur, the son of one of the commanders of Hamas' armed wing, Iz al-Din al-Qassam. Dozens of others were wounded by the strikes.
The Israeli military started striking in the Strip overnight Wednesday after six rockets were fired from Gaza, landing in the southern Israeli town of Sderot and wounding 11 people. Nine Sderot residents were evacuated to a hospital; a woman was in serious condition, and 13 others were treated for shock trauma.
Israel and Hamas expected to sign a cease-fire agreement by the end of August, a Hamas official told the Turkish state news agency Anadolu on Tuesday. The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the first stage of the deal would include a two-week trial. The deal would lift restrictions on the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip and at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the coastal enclave.
According to the source, the cease-fire would last for at least five years, and include the release of Israeli citizens Avera Mengistu and Hisham Sayed, as well as the remains of soldiers 1st Lt. Hadar Goldin and Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, who were killed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
The deal also reportedly calls for the establishment of a port in Gaza. Israeli restrictions on the Kerem Shalom border terminal, Gaza's only functioning commercial crossing, would be eased following its recent closure.
Earlier this week, government sources from Ramallah told Haaretz that Israel and Egypt are advancing an outline for a plan to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza without the involvement of the Palestinian Authority.
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