Israel, Hamas truce holds overnight, despite protester clash in Jerusalem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is warning against any further attacks, vowed to respond with "new level of force.”

The cease-fire agreement reached late Thursday between Israel and Hamas appears on Friday to be holding, with thousands of Palestinians and others returning to the streets of heavily damaged Gaza after 11 days of war.

Air strikes by Israel leveled buildings and killed over 240 people in Gaza, controlled by the militant group Hamas, which launched nearly 4,000 missiles at Israel, killing 12 people. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday warned against any further attacks, saying "If Hamas thinks we will tolerate a drizzle of rockets, it is wrong." He also vowed to respond with "a new level of force" against any aggression anywhere in Israel, according to the Associated Press.

Netanyahu agreed to the truce amid pressure from President Biden and neighboring Egyptian leaders – all eager to end the deadly battle, the worst between the sides since 2014.

The battle was sparked largely by what Palestinians perceived as Israeli abuses toward them in Jerusalem.

Among the estimated 243 killed in Gaza by the Israeli air strikes were 25 senior Hamas commanders. The strikes also destroyed over 60 miles of the group’s tunnels, Netanyahu said.

The truce faced an early test when clashes broke out Friday between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police following prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a flashpoint holy site in Jerusalem that is sacred to Jews and Muslims.

The fighting erupted May 10 when Hamas militants in Gaza fired long-range rockets toward Jerusalem. The barrage came after days of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police at Al-Aqsa. Police tactics at the compound and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers had inflamed long-standing tensions, the wire service also reports. 

The competing claims to Jerusalem are at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.