Israeli Cabinet approves ceasefire in Gaza

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Israeli Cabinet Approves Ceasefire In Gaza
Israel Palestinians, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Fares Akram, Associated Press

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has announced a ceasefire to halt an 11-day military operation against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

A statement said his Security Cabinet unilaterally approved the Egyptian-mediated proposal.

The two sides were still negotiating exactly when it would take effect.

Multiple reports said the truce was to go into effect at 2am, just over three hours after the cabinet’s decision.

“The political leaders emphasised that the reality on the ground will be that which determines the future of the campaign,” the statement said.


(PA Graphics)

The decision came after heavy US pressure to halt the offensive.

An official from the Palestinian militant Hamas group says Israel’s declaration of a ceasefire represents a defeat for Mr Netanyahu and “a victory to the Palestinian people”.

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Ali Barakeh, a member of Hamas’ Arab and Islamic relations bureau, told The Associated Press that the militants will remain on alert until they hear from mediators who have been working for days between Hamas and Israel.

Hamas officials haves said that they have been contacted by officials from Russia, Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations to reach a truce with Israel.

He added that once Hamas hears back from the mediators, its leadership will hold discussions and will make an announcement after that.

Since fighting broke out on May 10, Israel has launched hundreds of airstrikes that it says have targeted Hamas’ infrastructure, including a vast tunnel network.

Hamas and other militant groups embedded in residential areas have fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israeli cities, with hundreds falling short and most of the rest intercepted.

At least 230 Palestinians have been killed, according to Gaza health officials, while 12 people in Israel have died.

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