TEL AVIV, Israel -- Calm returned to Gaza and northern Israel on Monday after two days of fierce fire exchanges; rockets, mortar and an anti-tank missiles were fired from Gaza into Israel, and Israeli armed forces bombarded Gaza from the air, ground and sea.
On Monday morning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the campaign was not over, and that Israel was “prepared to continue.”
However, Israel Defense Forces issued an official statement announcing that the IDF home front, responsible for the safety of the civilian population in times of crisis, was lifting all restrictions imposed on Israeli civilians shortly after the beginning of this latest flare-up.
Efforts by Egypt and U.N. special envoy Nickolay Mladenov to mediate between the two sides produced a cease-fire which went into effect at 4:30 a.m. on Monday morning.
Four Israelis and 25 people on the Gaza side were killed in this latest round of violence, adding to a long list of casualties claimed by the decades-long conflict.
Monday is the first day of the holy month of Ramadan observed by Muslims worldwide, and Israel is preparing to mark its 71st independence day on May 9.
This latest round of violence began last Friday, during weekly Palestinian demonstrations on the Gaza-Israel border. Two IDF soldiers were wounded by what Israel said was sniper fire coming from Gaza. The IDF responded with an air strike of an alleged Hamas outpost that Israel said killed two militants and wounded two others.
Many Israelis were caught unprepared on Saturday morning when a barrage of rockets launched from Gaza hit in and around communities. The IDF responded by targeting what it said were legitimate targets in Gaza, totally destroying 170 apartments and damaging another 700, in addition to what they said were Hamas and Islamic Jihad outposts.
Israel has reportedly agreed to re-open the border for fuel and other goods to reach Gaza, and allow Gaza fishing boats to go out to sea.
The country will also allow the transfer of the much-needed money from Qatar to Hamas, according to Israeli media reports.
Israel’s request that the weekly Friday rallies on the Gaza-Israel border cease was denied by the Gaza leaders.
ABC News's Samy Zyara contributed reporting from Gaza City, Gaza.