Israel and Hamas ceased hostilities, bringing a halt to the fiercest fighting the region has seen in decades.
A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said his Security Cabinet unilaterally approved the Egyptian-mediated proposal.
Since the fighting began on May 10, health officials in Gaza say 232 Palestinians, including 65 children and 39 women, have been killed and more than 1,900 wounded in aerial bombardments.
Israel says it has killed at least 160 combatants in Gaza.
Authorities put the death toll in Israel at 12, with hundreds of people treated for injuries in rocket attacks that have caused panic and sent people rushing into shelters.
Palestinians, many of whom had spent 11 days huddled in fear of Israeli shelling, poured into Gaza’s streets. Mosque loud-speakers feted ‘the victory of the resistance achieved over the Occupation (Israel) during the ”Sword of Jerusalem” battle.’
In the countdown to the 2am cease-fire, whose timing Hamas had publicly confirmed but Israel had not, Palestinian rocket salvoes continued and Israel carried out at least one air strike.
Each side said it stood ready to retaliate for any truce violations by the other. Cairo said it would send two delegations to monitor the ceasefire.
Israel and Hamas announced a cease-fire would go into effect at 2am local time on Friday, and the agreement has now brought an end to the 11-day war that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip and brought life in much of Israel to a halt.
The decision came after heavy US pressure to halt the offensive.
President Joe Biden on Thursday hailed the impending cease-fire in the fighting between Israel and Hamas, saying he sees a ‘genuine opportunity’ toward the larger goal of building a lasting peace in the Middle East.
Biden credited the Egyptian government with playing a crucial role in brokering the cease-fire and said he and top White House aides were intensely involved in an ‘hour by hour’ effort to stop the bloodletting.