Israel, Hamas agree to 72-hour cease-fire
A senior Israeli officer says the Israeli government has accepted an Egyptian cease-fire proposal to end a month-long war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. The official says a preliminary 72-hour truce will begin on Tuesday morning. Coming on the heels of several failed cease-fire attempts between Israel and Hamas, both sides have agreed to try once again.
Egyptian officials say the truce will last three days and there are hopes it could be extended after beginning at 8am local time Tuesday. The deal was brokered by the Egyptians. Under the truce, no military action of any kind is allowed. Food and medical supplies will be transported into Gaza, where more than 1,800 people have been killed in the conflict so far, according to Palestinian officials.
“We’re coming to this with our eyes open,” stated Israeli spokesman Mark Regev. “The onus is on Hamas and the other terrorist groups in Gaza – will they violate this other agreement?”
As for Hamas, a spokesman says it too will honor the terms of the cease-fire.
“We will be all – as Palestinians, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad – committed to that, unless the Israelis violate that,” said Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan. “We hope that they will not violate the cease-fire at this time.”
This new deal comes as violence in the region continues to escalate. The Gaza Health Ministry says Israeli soldiers struck a refugee camp in Gaza. A spokesman says an 8-year-old girl was killed and some 30 people were injured – mostly children. Israel says the attack did not violate the cease-fire, that the operation was already in progress.
In Jerusalem, two attacks: an IDF soldier was shot by an unknown person on a motorcycle near a highway tunnel and a passenger bus was hit by an earthmover, leaving the bus driver injured and one pedestrian killed. The driver of the earthmover was shot by police in Jerusalem.
An Israeli delegation will head to Egypt for talks meant to work out a long-term truce in the next three days.