A ceasefire has been agreed in southern Gaza according to Reuters, amid conflicting reports about the move that follows Israeli bombardments of the Palestinian enclave.
Citing two Egyptian security sources, the agency reported on Monday that the U.S., Israel and Egypt had agreed to the ceasefire, beginning at 6 a.m. GMT, which would coincide with the reopening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the south of the enclave.
Open-source intelligence monitor OSINTdefender wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that the ceasefire would last five hours, only include the southern Gaza Strip, and that there had been no agreement or discussions with Hamas.
However, the Israeli military said it was “not aware” of any ceasefire and Hamas told Arabic language network Asharq News that it had no information regarding an agreement on a humanitarian truce.
The Rafah crossing, on the border with Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, is Gaza’s only exit route not controlled by Israel and is the only possible route out of the enclave, the others having been blocked. Cairo has tightly restricted the crossing amid badly strained relations between Hamas and Egypt.
On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the crossing “will be reopened” and that there would be “a mechanism by which to get the assistance in and to get it to people who need it.”
However, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said there was no ceasefire, and made reference to no humanitarian aid being provided in the Gaza Strip in exchange for foreigners being allowed to leave, according to Israeli news outlet Channel 14.
The government information office in Gaza said it had not received any communications or confirmations from the Egyptian side regarding the opening of the Rafah crossing, television channel Al Araby reported.
Newsweek has contacted the Israeli prime minister’s office and the U.S. State Department for comment.
Palestinians in Gaza said Israel’s bombing campaign overnight on Sunday was the heaviest since it launched strikes following the attack by Hamas militants on October 7 that killed at least 1,300 Israeli citizens, according to the Associated Press.
Bombardment has been especially heavy in Gaza City, with airstrikes hitting the areas around two of the city’s main hospitals, according to Reuters, noting that the death toll, according to Gaza authorities, had reached 2,670.
Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Authority of Israel’s Ministry of Defense and the Israel Defense Forces announced on Monday a plan to evacuate residents of northern Israel who live up to 2 kilometers (1.3 miles) from the Lebanese border.
Update 10/16/23, 4:48 a.m. ET: This story has been updated with further information.