A three-day ceasefire took hold in Gaza on Friday morning, as Israel, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and other regional powers sent delegations to Cairo for long-term truce negotiations.
By mid-morning Friday, the ceasefire appeared to be holding, and the residents of both Gaza and southern Israel tentatively resumed normal daily activities.
Just hours before the ceasefire came into effect, there was heavy shelling on both sides. Palestinian officials claimed 17 dead in an Israeli artillery strike, and on the Israeli side, a Hamas mortar shell killed five IDF soldiers, bringing to 61 the total number of Israeli troops killed in Operation Protective Edge.
The Obama Administration also dispatched senior officials to Cairo to exert what is expected to be heavy pressure on Israel to halt indefinitely its war on the Hamas terrorist infrastructure.
At present, there is wall-to-wall unity in Israel over rejecting America’s unconditional ceasefire demands and pushing forward until Hamas is incapacitated as a fighting force.