Israel, Hamas reach ceasefire deal - New York News

Israel, Hamas reach ceasefire deal

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Israeli rescue workers and paramedics carry a wounded person from the site of a bombing in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty) Israeli rescue workers and paramedics carry a wounded person from the site of a bombing in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
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After a deadly eight-day conflict, Israel and Hamas militants agreed to a ceasefire effective Wednesday evening, the Egyptian foreign minister announced at a press conference, FoxNews.com reported.

Mohammed Kamel Amr, the foreign minister, made the announcement in Cairo and was flanked by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

"Egypt is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone of international peace," Clinton said.

The cease-fire agreement was later confirmed by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Reuters reported that the Israeli leader warned in a statement that more forceful action may be employed if the cease-fire deal is unsuccessful. 

President Obama called Netanyahu and commended the decision. Obama also reiterated his commitment to Israel's security. Obama also spoke with Egypt's president, Mohamed Morsi, and thanked the leader for his efforts in the deal.

According to a copy of the agreement obtained by The Associated Press, Israel will end its policy of assassinating top Hamas officials. Hamas, meanwhile, is promising to stop all rocket fire from the many militant groups operating in the Gaza Strip.

After a brief cooling-off period, Israel pledges to ease its blockade of Gaza, though there are no firm assurances on how that will be done. Israel has maintained that blockade since Hamas seized power in Gaza in 2007. It has gradually lifted many of the restrictions.

A top Hamas official says on his Facebook page that talks on a new border arrangement will begin after the 24-hour cooling-off period.

Israeli TV channels quote Israeli officials as saying the details on future arrangements will be handled by international liaisons.

Earlier Wednesday, a bomb exploded aboard an Israeli bus near the nation's military headquarters in Tel Aviv, wounding 27 people and at the time delivering a major blow to diplomatic efforts to forge a truce.

What's more, a U.N. aid agency reported that some 10,000 Gazans sought shelter in U.N.-run schools after the Israeli military dropped leaflets Tuesday night on the territory warning residents of certain areas to evacuate their homes.

The Israeli military did not give a reason for the warning, but many here fear it is the prelude to a possible ground offensive.

The deal is to end a week of fighting that has killed more than 140 Palestinians and five Israelis.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Read more: FOXNEWS.COM

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