JERUSALEM, July 28 (IANS): Israel embarked on an "unlimited ceasefire" policy in Gaza Monday morning after 21 days of conflict claimed over 1,030 Palestinian lives.
The new policy, adopted amid mounting international pressure to halt hostilities, means the Israeli military will halt the deliberate attacks in Gaza and will open fire only in retaliation to Gaza militant fire, an Israeli official told Xinhua.
"We are now on 'unlimited ceasefire', as decided by the political echelon," the source said. The Prime Minister's Office was not immediately available for comment.
However, according to local media reports although the military seems to be holding fire on the ground and from the air, it will continue to destroy Hamas's cross-border tunnels.
Rocket fire from Gaza also declined sharply Monday, with only a single incident in which a rocket was fired this morning at the city of Ashkelon on Israel's southern coast hitting an open field.
An Israeli military spokesperson said that following the incident, "the Israel Defence Forces retaliated towards Beit Lahyia area from which the rocket was fired".
The ongoing fighting between the Hamas and the Israeli army in Gaza, which started July 8, has claimed the lives of more than 1,030 Palestinians, at least 720 of them civilians, according to UN and Palestinian health officials. On the Israeli side, 46 people were killed, 43 of them soldiers, according to the Israeli military and police.