Israel, Gaza Militants Accept Egyptian-Brokered Cease-Fire

Image: Israel, Gaza Militants Accept Egyptian-Brokered Cease-Fire (Mahmud Hams/Getty Images)

Tuesday, 26 Aug 2014 10:15 AM

 

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Israel and Gaza Strip militant groups said they have accepted an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire plan to end a seven-week conflict that has killed more than 2,100 Palestinians and almost 70 Israelis.

The accord was announced from mosques in Gaza City, with militants firing in the air and cheering “long live Hamas!” Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz told Channel 2 television that the sides are “heading to an arrangement” after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted the proposals.

Under the deal, Gaza’s fishing zones have been extended and border crossings with Israel will be opened to allow in aid and reconstruction materials, Egypt said. The two sides will resume indirect talks on “other issues” in the coming month, it said. Hamas had demanded an end to the blockade on Gaza, initiated in 2006 after the group won Palestinian elections. Israel wants the transit points supervised by a third party to prevent arms smuggling, and has called for the disarming of Hamas and other militants.

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Several Egyptian-brokered cease-fire agreements have collapsed since violence between Israel and Hamas escalated last month.

Shortly before the agreement went into effect, attacks from both sides intensified. Three Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike at about 6 p.m. local time, the Gaza health ministry said. An Israeli was killed by a mortar attack, according to Channel 2, and the army said rockets landed in open areas near Tel Aviv.

Israel, the U.S. and the European Union consider Hamas a terrorist organization.

Hundreds of the Palestinians killed during 50 days of fighting were women and children, according to Gaza officials. Sixty-eight Israelis, all but four of them soldiers, were also killed.

The conflict has also hurt the Israeli economy, prompting the central bank to cut its benchmark interest rate yesterday for the second month in a row to a record 0.25 percent.

Egypt, which has been mediating the talks, has joined Israel in imposing a blockade on Gaza. The Egyptian statement today didn’t say whether that would be eased.

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