Egypt and the United Nations worked hard to prevent a dangerous escalation of conflict that could have led to war in the Gaza Strip, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladinov said Thursday.
"The coming hours and days will be critical. All must show maximum restraint and do their part to prevent bloodshed. The Middle East does not need more wars," Mladinov tweeted.
A ceasefire between the Islamic Jihad movement in Gaza and Israel came into effect in the early hours of Thursday with Egyptian mediation, according to the BBC.
Palestinian factions informed Cairo that they agreed to the Egyptian request to stop the escalation in Gaza, Palestinian and Egyptian sources confirmed.
Tensions between Israel and armed factions in the besieged Gaza Strip escalated after the assassination of a senior Islamic Jihad leader, Bahaa Abu Al-Atta, who was killed in his home along with his wife in an Israeli drone attack Tuesday.
The ceasefire on Thursday came hours after six people from one family were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a house in the central Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical sources said.
The number of Palestinians killed in Israeli raids and shelling on Gaza rose to 32 on Thursday, according to Palestinian medical officials.