Three days of Israeli attacks on Gaza left at least 44 Palestinians dead, including 15 children. At least 350 Palestinians suffered casualties.

Iran PressMiddle East: The truce began at 11:30 pm local time on Sunday (20:30 GMT) despite a flurry of Israeli air raids and Palestinian rocket attacks up until the last minute.

Since Friday, Israel has bombarded heavily across Gaza, flattened buildings, and struck refugee camps.

The Israeli military said it has been targeting members of the Islamic Jihad, including the group's senior commanders. Still, according to Palestinian officials, almost half of the 44 people who died were civilians.

Sunday's truce was mediated by Egypt, with help from the United Nations and Qatar. The secretary general of Islamic Jihad, Ziad al-Nakhala, said one of the critical agreements was an Egyptian guarantee that it would work towards the release of two of the group's leaders which Israel is holding.

"The Islamic Jihad lays down its conditions. First, to unite all the Palestinians. Second, we demand that the enemy release our brother who has been on hunger strike, Khalil Awawda, and third, to release Sheikh Bassem al-Saadi," al-Nakhala told reporters in the Iranian capital, Tehran.

Al-Saadi's arrest in the occupied West Bank last week was one of the latest escalation's key triggers.

Israeli forces launched "pre-emptive" raids on the Gaza Strip following his arrest to prevent retaliatory attacks.

Islamic Jihad's commanders, Taysir al-Jabari and Khaled Mansour, were killed in attacks on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Israeli forces also arrested 19 more members of the Islamic Jihad in the occupied West Bank.

Despite the halt to the fighting, Palestinians in Gaza said they could not live their everyday lives because of Israel's 15-year siege.

Approximately 2.3 million people are packed into the narrow coastal enclave, with Israel and Egypt tightly restricting the movement of people and goods in and out of the enclave and imposing a naval blockade, citing security concerns.


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