A ceasefire agreed late last night between Israeli and Palestinian leaders appears to be holding despite several rocket attacks this morning. At one point the strikes, fired into Israel from Gaza, threatened to end the hour-old truce. But Palestinian authorities have deployed around 13,000 troops along the Gaza border to make sure the ceasefire is respected.
Hoping it can now also be applied to the West Bank, Israel said earlier it would give the ceasefire a chance by showing restraint, after rockets were fired into the town of Sderot.
There were no deaths or casualties caused by the attacks but buildings were damaged along with residents’ confidence in the agreement.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said all militant factions had agreed to the ceasefire. It could allow Hamas and Fatah time to set up a national unity government and eventually see sanctions on Palestinian territories lifted.
For his part Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert evoked the possibility of what he called “serious, true and open, direct negotiations” between himself and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
All Israeli troops have been withdrawn from Gaza for the first time since late June.