Hamas claims ceasefire reached with Israel after biggest air strikes on Gaza Strip since 2014 war

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Gaza City (Palestinian Territories): Israel unleashed its biggest air strikes on the Gaza Strip since a 2014 war, killing two Palestinians, while dozens of rockets targeted Israel, but Hamas said a ceasefire had been reached late in the day.
The exchange of fire on Saturday followed months of tension that has raised the prospect of a fourth war in the blockaded Gaza Strip since 2008. Three Israelis were wounded when a rocket hit a house in the city of Sderot near the Gaza Strip, authorities said.
The two Palestinians killed were aged 15 and 16, caught in an Israeli strike on a building they were near in the west of Gaza City, the enclave’s health ministry said. Twenty-five people were wounded across Gaza, the ministry said.Smoke raises in the background following an Israeli airstrike hits a governmental building in Gaza City . APSmoke raises in the background following an Israeli airstrike hits a governmental building in Gaza City . APHamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said late on Saturday the Islamist movement, which runs the Gaza Strip, had agreed to an “Egyptian offer to return to a ceasefire to stop this escalation.” An Israeli military spokesman declined to comment, but said its actions would depend on what happens on the ground.Thick plumes of smoke rose over parts of the Gaza Strip as Israel hit dozens of targets it said belonged to militants, including a high-rise building allegedly used by Hamas as a training facility with a tunnel underneath.In Israel, air raid sirens sent people rushing to shelters in areas surrounding the Gaza Strip as rockets and mortars were fired from the Palestinian enclave at nearby communities. Israel said around 100 rockets and mortars were fired, mostly mortars. Hamas said it fired in defence in response to Israeli air strikes. Israel blamed Hamas for the escalation, pointing to months of protests and clashes along the border that its military argues the Islamist movement is seeking to use as cover for attacks. There have also been hundreds of fires at Israeli farms caused by kites and balloons carrying firebombs from Gaza, leading to political pressure on the government and military to take action against Hamas.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas had been hit with “the hardest blow” since a 2014 war “and we will increase the strength of our attacks as necessary.”