After a week of heavy violence, Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement agreed to a ceasefire that came into effect midnight IST.
Under the terms of the truce hammered out in Cairo on Wednesday, Israel has agreed to “stop all hostilities on the Gaza Strip, land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals" — meeting a key Palestinian demand.
In turn, “All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks, and attacks along the border" according to the text of the deal. Israel has also committed to open all border crossings and ease movement of people and goods, 24 hours after the cease fire takes effect.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that he had agreed to "give a chance" to the ceasefire. "A short while ago Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with [US] President Barack Obama and agreed to his recommendation to give a chance to an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire and thereby give an opportunity for the stabilisation of the situation and a calming of it," a statement from the Israeli Prime Minister’s office said.
Accompanied by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who had joined the negotiations, Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel Amr announced the ceasefire at a news conference in Cairo. During the day Israel persisted with the naval bombardment of Gaza while Palestinian continued with high intensity rocket attacks into Israel.