Gaza City, Palestinian Territories (ANTARA News) - Egypt helped broker a fresh ceasefire by militants in Gaza Sunday, after violence left nine Palestinians and one Israeli dead, sources close to the groups said.

The agreement came after Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip Saturday and early Sunday killed nine Islamic Jihad militants, while retaliatory rocket fire killed one Israeli.

The truce with Israel was due to come into effect at 6:00 am (0400 GMT), said sources close to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the two main Islamist groups in the Gaza Strip.

"The efforts and intensive contacts led by senior Egyptian intelligence service officials led to a national consensus to restore calm" with Israel, a leader of one Palestinian group, who asked to remain anonymous, told AFP.

If the agreement holds it will mark the end of the bloodiest exchanges between the two sides since since a tacit ceasefire was agreed between Gaza Palestinian militants and Israel in late August.

The first Israeli attack early Saturday afternoon killed five members of the Al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad`s armed wing, said Adham Abu Selmiya, spokesman for Gaza`s emergency services.

Another three militants were critically wounded, he added.

As tit-for-tat fighting continued into the night, Israeli aircraft struck more targets in Gaza, killing four more militants and wounding at least two, witnesses and Palestinian officials said.

At least two of the militants were killed as they tried to fire a Grad rocket into Israel, an Al-Quds spokesman said.(*)


Editor: Jafar M Sidik
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