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Israel, Palestinian militants agree to cease-fire

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An anti-rocket missle fires from Israel's Iron Dome defense missile system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, near Ashdod in southern Israel on Sunday. Israel pounded Gaza with air strikes and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group retaliated with barrages of rocket fire. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/488c914cf6ee6b0817b111bceb6a540b/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
An anti-rocket missle fires from Israel's Iron Dome defense missile system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, near Ashdod in southern Israel on Sunday. Israel pounded Gaza with air strikes and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group retaliated with barrages of rocket fire. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Israel and Palestinian militants agreed to a cease-fire late Sunday following three days of bloody conflict that left dozens killed in Gaza.

Israel's Office of the Prime Minister announced the cease-fire took effect at 11:30 p.m. Sunday while warning that if the militants violate their agreement "the State of Israel reserves the right to respond forcefully."

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"We will not allow anyone to disrupt the daily lives of the citizens of the State of Israel," it said on Twitter.

The terms of the Egypt-mediated agreement were not released.

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The cease-fire was agreed to after the fighting erupted Friday afternoon when the Israel Defense Forces said it launched attacks in Gaza targeting the Palestinian Islamic Jihad over threats the militant group posed to Israel.

Minutes before the cease-fire was to go into effect, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said at least 44 Palestinian citizens were killed in the attacks, including 15 children and four women. Hundreds were injured, it said.

Israel said its attacks killed at least two high-ranking Islamic Jihad leaders.

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Israel Defense Forces announced Sunday that Khaled Mansour, the commander of Islamic Jihad's Southern Gaza Division, was targeted and killed in an airstrike on an apartment building in the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza on Saturday night, escalating three days of intense fighting between the parties.

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"He was responsible for dozens of terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers," the Israel Defense Forces said in its statement. "We will continue to act against any threat to Israel."

The other Islamic Jihad leader to be killed was Tayseer Jabari, the group's chief of operations in the northern Gaza Strip.

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The strike triggered a barrage of 580 missiles fired from Gaza toward Israel which intercepted 97% of them with its Iron Dome defense system, the Israel Defense Forces said in another statement.

"In response to continuous rocket fire from Gaza toward Israel, we are currently striking Islamic Jihad rocket launch posts in Gaza," the Israel Defense Forces said.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid vowed in a statement that the operation in Gaza "will continue as long as necessary."

Islamic Jihad confirmed Mansour's death in a statement to The New York Times and said his body was found with the bodies of two more militants and five civilians, including a child, under the rubble of a building.

"We affirm that the blood of the martyrs will not be spilled in vain," the Islamic Jihad's military wing vowed, according to The New York Times.

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