Gaza ceasefire holds after two-day flare-up, protests expected

A fireball explodes during Israeli air strikes on Gaza City

In the Israeli airstrikes that followed, three Palestinians were killed, including a 23-year old pregnant woman and her 18-month-old daughter, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza.

Air raid sirens signaling incoming rocket fire wailed across southern Israel throughout Thursday, with warnings going off in the southern city of Beersheba for the first time since the 2014 war.

Israeli Army Radio said the rocket was a long-range Grad capable of reaching Israel's heartland.

Abu Mujahed, spokesman of the Popular Resistance Committee, a smaller faction in Gaza, said on his Facebook page: "Upon Egyptian and global efforts, a ceasefire between Palestinian resistance began conditional on the commitment of the occupation".

The building was not publicly known to include facilities for Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas.

Hours earlier, a Palestinian official said armed factions in Gaza were prepared to halt a round of rocket attacks on southern Israel - where communities near the border had been targeted - if the Israeli military stopped its air strikes after two days of violence.

They were killed in an airstrike in Jafarawi in central Gaza, the ministry said, while her husband was injured. Seven people were wounded by Palestinian rockets and mortars that struck Israel.

An Israeli man outside a house in Sderot damaged by shrapnel from a rocket fired from Gaza.

Israeli warplanes struck dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip and three people were reported killed there, while Palestinian militants from the territory fired scores of rockets into Israel in a fierce burst of violence overnight and into Thursday morning.

Saudi Arabia blocks flights from Canada
The Middle Eastern nation has also frozen all new trade and investment with Canada, according to the Saudi Press Agency. Another source said Canada will be turning to its old ally the United Kingdom for help, which has appealed for calm.

A spokesman for Hamas said Friday that the group would not be deterred from urging Gazans to continue protests that have taken place every Friday since late March, dubbed the "Great March of Return". One of the officials said "they consider this round of escalation over".

Reminder: Current Israeli bombardment sequence in Gaza started when the Israeli military killed two Palestinians, lied about why and later admitted to doing so just as a high level Palestinian delegation was on its way to Cairo to discuss longer term cease-fire. "I am sure the residents of the Gaza border communities are strong and we call on them to continue to listen to the instructions of the Home Front Command", Head of the Southern Command Maj. The IDF said the building was being used by Hamas for military purposes.

The West Bank only gets around three-quarters of the power its 3 million people need, imported mostly from Israel and, to a far lesser extent, Jordan.

Israel has also been battling nearly daily airborne arson attacks from Gaza caused by kites and balloons rigged with incendiary devices flown across the border that have sparked large fires that destroyed forests, burned crops and killed wildlife and livestock.

Rocket sirens were still sounding in Israeli neighborhoods on Wednesday evening, while strikes in Gaza continued.

Israel's Permanent Representative to the U.N., Danny Danon, on Twitter put the blame for the more than 180 rockets launched at Israel on Hamas, and said the rockets were "aimed at innocent civilians".

The Israeli security cabinet and the Hamas leadership convened separately late on Thursday, with the truce offer brokered by Egypt and the United Nations on the table. One Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper. Egypt has also only sporadically opened its border with Gaza over the past decade.

At least 165 Palestinians have killed by Israeli fire since then.

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