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Live blog update| Gaza Under Attack

Late night update

Hello MEE readers,

The fifth day of Israel’s latest assault on Gaza ended in a fragile truce after an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire went into effect at 10 pm, local time. 

Both sides exchanged fire right up until the 10 pm deadline, in addition to some reports of sporadic fire after the ceasefire had begun. Still, the situation remains mostly calm tonight. 

Following the deadline, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for Egypt's "resolute efforts" to broker a truce.

Gaza: Egypt brokers ceasefire to end Israel's bombardment
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Netanyahu's office warned that "if Israel is attacked or provoked, it will do whatever is necessary to defend itself".

Meanwhile, the Joint Command, an umbrella body of armed groups in the Strip, including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, similarly said that the movement was "ready with a firm hand on the trigger" and "if you return, we will return". 

There have been mounting calls for a ceasefire to be agreed, including from Israel's closest ally, the United States.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, in a call to Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, "stressed the urgency of reaching a ceasefire agreement in order to prevent any further loss of civilian life", the State Department said.

Israel's offensive, dubbed "Operation Shield and Arrow" by Israel, has so far killed six senior members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second-largest armed group in Gaza after Hamas.

Israel's airstrikes on Gaza killed at least 10 civilians, and two people - an Israeli woman and a Palestinian labourer - were killed by Palestinian rocket fire in Israel. 

According to Unicef's latest report, Israeli strikes on Gaza had killed at least six children and injured 38 others.

Earlier on Saturday, Gaza’s Ministry of Waqf and Islamic Affairs strongly condemned the targeting of a cemetery in the besieged territory. 

“Targeting cemeteries is a dangerous indicator and a flagrant violation of the sanctity of the dead,” the ministry said in a statement.

Moayed al-Bahri, a resident of Gaza's Beit Lehia, recounted to MEE the "terrifying" moments air strikes hit his neighbourhood. 

"I was sleeping when my wife woke me up to flee as Israel had warned our neighbour's house, the Banat family," Bahri said.

Meanwhile, officials in Gaza warned on Saturday that it would have no choice but to close down the besieged territory's only power plant unless Israel reopens its border crossing to let in emergency fuel. 

The state-run Wafa agency reported that the power plant sustained heavy damage during Israel's latest bombardment on Gaza. 

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