Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad reached a cease-fire agreement early Thursday to end two days of fighting that erupted when Israeli forces conducted a predawn attack that killed one of the militant group's leaders.
The cease-fire was brokered by Egypt with the help of the United Nations to prevent the conflict from escalating into a full-blown war, said Nickolay E. Mladenov, U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
"The coming hours and days will be critical," Mladenov said via Twitter. "All must show maximum restraint and do their part to prevent bloodshed. The Middle East does not need more wars."
Despite the announcement, sirens blared across southern Israel at 7 a.m. as rockets were fired from Gaza at Israeli border areas, the Israel Defense Forces said, with at least five more fired a few hours later.
The cease-fire comes some 50 hours after the IDF conducted a predawn attack into Gaza Tuesday, killing Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata in a "precision strike" that caused the militant group to retaliate by launching rockets into Israel.
Some 400 rockets were launched from Gaza at Israel and the IDF attacked several Islamic Jihad targets, including training compounds and munitions facilities with jet airstrikes since the fighting began, forcing businesses and schools in border areas to close.
At least 32 Palestinians were killed in the airstrikes and at least 111 were injured, according to Gaza's health ministry. Save the Children, a Britain-based children's welfare organization, said in a statement that at least one Palestinian child was killed and 30 more were wounded in Gaza.
In Israel, more than 60 people have received treatment for injuries.
The IDF declared operation Black Belt a success as it achieved its objectives.
"The IDF operated decisively and precisely against Islamic Jihad in Gaza until quiet returned to the skies above Israel," it said via Twitter.
IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman said Israeli forces killed 25 terrorists in its operation.
"The purpose of the operation was to improve the security situation in the south by weakening the PIJ and the continued promotion [of] the stabilization process," Zilberman said. "In this operation, we struck a heavy blow to PIJ's operational capabilities."
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said the rules of engagement have changed and terrorists will no longer be able to hide.
"The new rules of the game are clear: The IDF will operate with complete freedom of action, with no restrictions," he said.