GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The Islamic Jihad militant group early Thursday announced a cease-fire with Israel, ending two days of heavy fighting that left at least 32 Palestinians dead.
Spokesman Musab al-Berim said the Egyptian-brokered deal went into effect at 5:30 a.m. (0330 GMT). There was no immediate confirmation from Israel.
Al-Berim said the cease-fire was based on a list of demands presented by his group late Wednesday, including a halt to Israeli targeted killings of the group’s leaders and an easing of Israel’s 12-year blockade of Gaza.
The fighting broke out early Tuesday after Israel killed a senior commander of the militant group.
The rare targeted killing by Israel sparked the heaviest fighting with Gaza militants since May. Islamic Jihad fired some 400 rockets toward Israel, while Israel responded with scores of airstrikes.
However, Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group, which is much larger and more powerful than Islamic Jihad, stayed out of the fighting, indicating it would be brief.
Palestinian officials reported 32 deaths, including a 7-year-old boy and six members of a single family.
The rocket fire crippled life across southern Israel, as nonstop air-raid sirens canceled schools and forced people to remain indoors. Much of Gaza resembled a ghost-town, with almost no vehicles on the roads except for ambulances evacuating wounded.
Israel rarely acknowledges deals with Gaza militant groups.
U.N. and Islamic Jihad officials were in touch Wednesday with Egyptian mediators, who typically broker deals to end fighting in Gaza, and Israel did not respond to the single rocket launch after the cease-fire announcement.
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