Originally published in Big News Network
An Egypt-brokered truce between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant movement controlling Gaza, took hold after a spate of violence that left four Palestinians dead.
Palestinians had launched dozens of rockets into Israel over the past two days, while Israel had conducted a number of air raids on Gaza.
The Israeli military said Thursday that no rocket fire had been detected since late Wednesday, and that it had not carried out any airstrikes against Gaza.
Israeli airstrikes against Gaza killed four Palestinians, including three members of the ruling Hamas movement.
Hamas has accused Israel of seeking revenge on Gaza for hosting the emir of Qatar who came on a brief visit on Tuesday.
It was the first visit by a head of state to Gaza since Hamas seized power there in 2007. Hamas said the emir’s visit was a victory in its efforts at ending its political and economic isolation.
The Gaza-Israel border has seen occasional outbreaks of fighting between militants and Israeli forces since the two sides fought a brief war from December 2008 to January 2009.
An Israeli defense official said no formal ceasefire agreement had been reached with Hamas and Egyptian officials had been instrumental in restoring calm.
“The Egyptians have a very impressive ability to articulate to (Hamas) that its primary interest is not to attack and use terror against Israel or other targets,” Israeli defense official Amos Gilad told Israeli Army Radio.
“It can be said categorically that there is no agreement with Hamas, there has never been and there will never be. … The only thing that has been set and said is that there will be calm. We are not interested in an escalation,” Gilad added.
The truce was negotiated with the help of Egypt but its exact terms and duration remain unknown, the BBC said.
Schools were closed on both sides of the border for fear of more attacks.
Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had promised to continue “targeted attacks” on militants launching rockets into Israel.
“We didn’t ask for this escalation and didn’t initiate it,” he said. “But if it continues, we are prepared to embark on a far more extensive and penetrating operation.”
Israeli schools reopened Thursday after they had been kept shut in areas near the fenced Gaza boundary and residents were urged to remain indoors.
EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, is set to visit the region to try to revive the stalled Middle East peace process.
She is scheduled to meet Israeli President Shimon Peres and Netanyahu.