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Israel, Islamic Jihad, say Gaza ceasefire agreement reached

The content originally appeared on: CNN

Jerusalem/Gaza (CNN)Israel says an agreement to restore a ceasefire for Gaza will come into effect at 11:30 p.m. local time (4:30 p.m. ET), following up a similar announcement from Islamic Jihad a short while earlier.

A brief statement from the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office thanked Egypt for its efforts in mediating the truce, and warned that if it was violated, “the State of Israel maintains the right to respond strongly.”

The announcement came about 50 hours after the escalation began when Israel launched what it called pre-emptive strikes on Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza.

As during previous Gaza escalations, Egypt has taken a central role in efforts to bring an end to fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants.

Terms of the agreement were not immediately made public. However, Egypt’s official state news agency reported that in the push for a truce, Cairo was working to see the release of an Islamic Jihad militant captured by Israel six days ago, as well as ensure a Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike in an Israeli jail would be transferred to hospital for medical treatment.

Previous ceasefire agreements have reportedly seen Israel making commitments to ease its closure of Gaza.

Hamas, which stayed out of the fighting, said the Israeli operation represented a “new stage in the Palestinians’ freedom struggle against the Israeli occupation.”