The Israeli army and the Islamist group Hamas accused each other of violating a truce in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday after an incident in the north of the enclave in which several Israeli soldiers were wounded.
"During the last hour, three explosive devices were detonated next to IDF troops in two different locations in the northern Gaza Strip, violating the framework of the operational pause. At one of the locations, terrorists also opened fire on the troops, who returned fire. Several soldiers were lightly wounded in the incidents," the Israeli military spokesman said.
The al-Qasam Brigades, Hamas's armed wing, denounced "a clear violation of the truce" by Israel during an episode of "friction on the ground", but said it was "committed to the truce as long as the enemy remains committed".
"We call on the mediators to pressure the occupation (Israel) to adhere to all the terms of the truce, both on the ground and in the air," said Brigades spokesman Abu Obeida, who acknowledged, however, that the group's fighters "responded today to the violation" of the agreement by Israeli troops.
These episodes come on the fifth day of a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas after more than a month and a half of fighting.
The agreement, brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the United States and including a hostages-for-prisoners swap and humanitarian aid into Gaza, came into force on Friday morning and was scheduled to last four days.
Yesterday, shortly before it was due to expire, Qatar announced a two-day extension, during which all three elements of the pact remain in place.
The release of hostages held captive in Gaza and the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails is scheduled to continue on Tuesday. This has already taken place over the past four days, with the release of 69 Israeli and foreign hostages and 150 Palestinian prisoners.
Israel declared war on Hamas on 7 October following an attack by the Islamist group, which included the firing of more than 4,000 rockets and the infiltration of some 3,000 militiamen, killing some 1,200 people and abducting more than 240 in Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip.
Israeli air, naval and ground forces have since fought back in the Palestinian enclave, where more than 15,000 people have been killed, according to Palestinian officials, most of them children and women, and more than 7,000 people are estimated to be missing under the rubble, with more than 36,000 injured.