Islamic Jihad says Israel agrees to truce after rockets rain down

Gaza: Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad says Israel has agreed to an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire to stop the cross-border rocket salvos that has seen dozens killed in the past two days.

IJ spokesman Musab al-Berim said the deal went into effect at 5.30am local time (2.30pm AEDT).

He said it 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.

The worst surge in fighting around the Palestinian enclave was sparked on Tuesday when Israel killed Islamic Jihad’s top Gaza field commander in an air strike, accusing him of masterminding a spree of recent attacks and planning more soon.

As IJ fighters responded with hundreds of rocket launches that reached as far as Tel Aviv and paralysed parts of Israel, the Israeli military pressed the aerial barrage on the Gaza Strip.

Medics say 26 Palestinians, including at least 14 gunmen and six civilians, have been killed. Dozens have been injured on both sides.

In his first public comments on the fighting, Islamic Jihad leader Zeyad al-Nakhala said a truce could be agreed immediately if Israel accepted the Iranian-backed faction’s terms.

These included Israel ending targeted killings of militants, its sometimes lethal response to weekly Gaza protests and steps to ease its blockade on the coastal Palestinian enclave, al-Nakhala, who is based in Beirut, told Al-Mayadeen TV.

Read the article by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Dan Williams in The Sydney Morning Herald.