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Israel Agrees to Ceasefire Deal With Hamas

By VOA News
18 June 2008

Israel has agreed to a ceasefire deal with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, to end fighting in and around the Gaza Strip.

Israeli defense official Amos Gilad said Wednesday after returning from talks with Egyptian mediators in Cairo that an understanding had been reached.

Hamas and Egyptian officials announced the deal a day earlier, and said it will go into effect Thursday at 6:00 am local time (0300 UTC).

In accordance with the truce, Hamas and other Palestinian militants agree to cease rocket attacks on Israel. In turn, Israel will suspend military raids and air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

Israel also is to allow more supplies to enter the territory starting three days into the cease-fire. If the truce holds, Israel will further ease restrictions.

Both sides have indicated they are ready to resume attacks if their counterparts break the agreement.

Israeli officials say the deal will also advance negotiations for the release of a captive Israeli soldier.

The United States says it would welcome a truce between Israel and Hamas. But State Department spokesman Tom Casey says such a deal would not change its view of Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Israel's military and Gaza militants continued their attacks Tuesday despite Hamas' announcement of a cease-fire. Israel says its aircraft carried out three air strikes against terrorist targets in Gaza, killing six Palestinians. Gaza militants also fired several rockets into Israel.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.


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