Israel army lifts restrictions, signals cease-fire with Gaza

Jerusalem | The Israeli military lifted protective restrictions on residents in southern Israel on Monday, while the Hamas militant group’s radio station in Gaza reported a cease-fire, signalling a deal had been reached to end the deadliest fighting between the two sides since a 2014 war.

The escalation had killed 23 on the Gaza side, both militants and civilians, and on the Israeli side, four civilians were killed from incoming fire.

There was no official cease-fire announcement from either side, but the intense fighting over the past two days appeared to come to a sudden halt in the early morning hours and residents on both sides went back to their daily routines.

In announcing its decision, the Israeli military said that as of 7am (2pm AEST), “all protective restrictions in the home front will be lifted”.

Schools and roads had been closed, and residents had been encouraged to remain indoors and near bomb shelters as intense rocket fire pounded the area, threatening to devolve into all-out war.

In Gaza, Hamas’ Al-Aqsa radio station had a short item saying a cease-fire had been reached. However, neither the strip’s Hamas rulers nor the smaller Islamic Jihad militant group that was the driving force behind the recent fire from Gaza issued any formal announcement.

Read the article by Fares Akram in the Australian Financial Review (AAP).