Israel Agrees to Cease-Fire Plan
TEL AVIV--Israel said Tuesday its security cabinet has accepted an Egyptian proposal for a cease fire with Hamas to end a week long air war over the Gaza Strip and Israeli population centers.
The brief Israeli announcement was made just minutes before the proposed start of the cease fire, which Israel said would take effect at 9 a.m. local time.
However, the Hamas military wing, in a statement released before Israel's acceptance, said it didn't accept any plan to stop fighting. "For us, it is not worth the ink that wrote it," the group said. "Our battle with the enemy is to be continued and we'll be loyal to the blood of the martyrs."
Hamas added that it had not been consulted by any officials about the "alleged initiative."
The Egyptian proposal, unveiled Monday night, calls for a de-escalation of the fighting with the aim of total calm 12 hours later. Israel would halt air and naval bombardment of Gaza and refrain from launching a threatened ground offensive in exchange for Hamas and other Palestinian factions in Gaza holding their rocket fire, the proposal said.
The two sides are supposed to meet in Cairo in the coming days to discuss the details of the agreement. In the hours before the planned beginning of the cease fire, hostilities continued, including a rocket attack on the Israeli resort city of Eilat that Hamas took credit for and an Israeli attack on the home of a top Hamas leader.
The U.S., which pushed Egypt and other regional allies with ties to Hamas to bring an end to the fighting, welcomed Egypt's call for a cease-fire on Monday night. "We are encouraged that Egypt has made a proposal to accomplish this goal, which we hope can restore the calm that we've been seeking," said President Barack Obama late Monday at a White House dinner celebrating the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
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