GAZA — An Egyptian-brokered truce ended a two-day wave of rocket barrages and airstrikes between Israel and Gaza, but the border remained tense as thousands of Gazans gathered for protests in which two Palestinians were killed and scores wounded.

After a quiet night, residents in southern Israel, who had spent much of the past two days in rocket shelters, were
told by the military that they could return to their daily routines.

In Gaza, crowds of Palestinians resumed protests against Israel. Reuters TV footage showed plumes of smoke blackening the sky at one area of the border after Palestinians set tires ablaze. It also showed tear gas canisters fired by Israeli soldiers.


Israeli troops killed two Palestinians, one of them a medic, and wounded about 300 others, Palestinian health officials said.


The Israeli military said rioters hurled stones, explosives and firebombs at troops and the border fence. The soldiers “responded with riot dispersal means and live fire, in accordance with the standard operating procedures,” a spokeswoman said.

A tank also fired at an outpost of Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls Gaza, the military said.

Since the weekly protests began March 30, the Israeli army has killed 159 Palestinians, and a Gaza sniper has killed an Israeli soldier.

Still, the broader truce held Friday after a two-day escalation in which Hamas fired scores of rockets, including a long-range missile deep into Israel, and Israeli aircraft struck more than 150 targets in Gaza.


A pregnant Palestinian woman and her 18-month-old child were killed in the Israeli attacks, as was a Hamas fighter. Seven people were wounded by Palestinian rockets and ­mortar rounds that struck Israel.

Israel and Egypt, citing security concerns, maintain a blockade on Gaza, a narrow strip of land that is home to 2 million Palestinians. The blockade has reduced Gaza’s economy to a state of collapse.

A senior Egyptian official said Cairo was working to secure a comprehensive agreement between Israel and Hamas, beginning with a cease-fire and later including economic improvements.