Israel, Hamas accept cease-fire to end Gaza war

CAIRO — Israel and Hamas accepted an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire Tuesday, signaling an end to a seven-week war that has left more than 2,200 dead on both sides.

"We announce the Palestinian leadership's agreement to Egypt's call for a comprehensive and lasting truce, beginning at 7 p.m. today," Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech at a meeting in Ramallah, according to AFP.

An Israel official told the Associated Press that Israel accepted the Egypt-brokered deal. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue with journalists.

Ziad Nakhala, a senior official in Islamic Jihad, another faction fighting in Gaza, told the Associated Press the truce calls for an "open-ended" cease-fire, and an Israeli agreement to ease its blockade.

The Israeli and Egyptian blockades on Gaza have been a sticking point in ongoing negotiations between the two sides, which have been meeting in Cairo to nail down a truce. Hamas has continued to demand Israel and Egypt lift their blockades, which it says prevents economic development and supplies from entering the region. Israel, meanwhile, has demanded that the Islamic militant group disarm.

The truce also calls for new meetings a month from now when Israeli and Palestinian officials can discuss the construction of a Gaza seaport and the release of Hamas prisoners, Reuters reported.

In recent days, Israeli airstrikes have targeted high-rise buildings, including apartments, along the Gaza Strip, hitting six towers and shopping complexes since Saturday in an apparent tactic aimed to increase pressure on Hamas. Occupants were warned of the impending strikes beforehand.

Meanwhile, a last-minute burst of mortar shells fired from Gaza before the cease-fire killed an Israeli and wounded two others, medics said. The latest death raises the Israeli toll in the conflict to 69, including five civilians and 64 soldiers, according to the Israeli military.

Since July 8, at least 2,140 Palestinians have died in the fighting, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Lackey reported from McLean, Va. Contributing: The Associated Press


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