Israel struck Gaza on Monday and witnesses reported blasts in the besieged territory’s south, but fighting has largely subsided after a day of relative calm and as Muslims marked Eid al-Adha.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dissolved his war cabinet, a government spokesman said, reflecting fractures at the top of the country’s politics.

David Mencer, spokesman for the prime minister’s office, said the body had been disbanded following the resignation earlier this month of centrist leader Benny Gantz, who had required a war cabinet’s formation in order to join a unity government.

The security cabinet had finalized decisions proposed by the war cabinet.

A daytime “pause” for aid deliveries around a southern Gaza route, announced at the weekend by Israel’s military, appeared to be holding on Monday.

But witnesses told AFP they could hear blasts in the center and west of the southernmost city of Rafah on Monday morning.

Elsewhere in the Palestinian territory, an AFP correspondent said strikes and shelling have decreased.

In Gaza City, medics at al-Ahli hospital said at least five people were killed in two separate air strikes, and witnesses reported tank shelling in the southern neighborhood of Zeitun.

At least one strike hit Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, residents said.

Palestinian officials in Rafah reported tank shelling early on Monday, before the start of the daily “local, tactical pause of military activity” announced by the army.

It said the pause “for humanitarian purposes will take place from 8:00 AM (05:00 GMT) until 7:00 PM (16:00 GMT) every day until further notice along the road that leads from the Kerem Shalom crossing to the Salah al-Din road and then northwards.”

Earlier, an Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP “there was no change” in the military’s policy and stressed that fighting “continues as planned.”

‘Catastrophic hunger’

An army spokesperson told AFP the pause was in effect on Monday, and the military in a statement said troops were still operating in Rafah and central Gaza, reporting “close-quarters combat” that killed several militants.

A map released by the army showed the declared humanitarian route extending up to Rafah’s European Hospital, about 10 kilometers (six miles) from Kerem Shalom.

On Sunday, the first day of Eid al-Adha, or the Muslim feast of the sacrifice, the spokesperson said “calm has prevailed across all of Gaza.”

The Gaza Health Ministry said on Monday it had recorded 10 deaths over the past 24 hours, in one of the lowest daily tolls since the war began.

Dire shortages of food and other essentials in the Gaza Strip have been exacerbated by overland access restrictions and the closure of the key Rafah crossing with Egypt since Israeli forces seized its Palestinian side in early May.

Israel’s military said the pause was in effect as part of efforts to “increase the volumes of humanitarian aid” following discussions with the United Nations and other organizations.

The head of the World Health Organization said last week that much of Gaza’s population faces “catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions.”

With AFP