Hamas says ceasefire reached with Israel after severe escalation

An explosion caused by Israeli air strikes is seen from the offices of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. (AFP)

Hamas said it has reached an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Israel after a severe exchange of fire on Monday, only two weeks before the Israeli elections.

“Egyptian efforts succeeded with a ceasefire between the occupation and the resistance factions,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said.

Israel has yet to comment on the claim.

Israel launched air strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip and deployed extra troops to the border on Monday, promising a strong response to the longest-range Palestinian rocket attack to cause casualties in years.

Dozens of explosions rocked the coastal enclave and ambulance sirens echoed through the night.

In one Gaza neighborhood, people rushed to buy bread in anticipation of a long escalation. The office of Islamist movement Hamas’s leader Ismail Haniyeh was one of the initial targets hit, although he was likely to have been evacuated in advance.

(With Reuters)

Last Update: 20:12 KSA 23:12 - GMT 20:12