Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip declared a ceasefire starting at 11 p.m. on Thursday. The declaration came following a day of escalation that led to the death of five Palestinians while dozens of residents, including children, were wounded. One student was seriously injured when a Palestinian shell hit a bus in southern Israel. The Ministry of Interior in Gaza, run by the Hamas-led government, stated that the ceasefire was declared in an attempt to stop the Israeli escalation against the Gaza Strip.

An Hamas official in Gaza stated that the one-sided ceasefire was declared following meetings with different factions and armed groups in Gaza.

On Thursday, five Palestinians were killed as the army carried a number of air strikes and fired artillery shells into several areas in the coastal region.

Meanwhile, the al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas claimed responsibility for firing the shell that struck the Israeli bus in southern Israel seriously wounding a student.

Official sources in Gaza that the ceasefire was declared after holding talks with several Arab and international officials in an attempt to stop the Israeli military escalation.

On Thursday, president Mahmoud Abbas urged the international community to halt the Israeli violations and escalation against the Gaza Strip.

Presidency spokesperson, Nabil Abu Rodeina, denounced the Israeli escalation and said that President Abbas contacted officials in a number of Arab and European countries urging them to intervene to ensure calm.

Abu Rodeina called on the Palestinian factions in Gaza not to give Israel the opportunity to attack Gaza, and to ensure calm. He said that the Israeli occupation does not want the Palestinians to unite and is acting to ensure internal Palestinian divisions remain in place.

Also on Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister stated that the army is acting against the attacks and will do whatever it can to ensure they stop.

Israeli army chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, visited the Sufa military base that was hit by Palestinian shells, and toured areas in southern Israel speaking to locals urging them to remain calm.

Gantz added that “the army will do whatever it can to ensure their security, even if this means a military operation against Gaza”.