Israel, Hamas agree to
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel and Hamas agreed Tuesday to an open-ended cease-fire, halting a seven-week war that killed more than 2,200 people, the vast majority Palestinians, left tens of thousands in Gaza homeless and devastated entire neighborhoods in the blockaded territory.
Hamas declared victory and bursts of celebratory gunfire erupted across Gaza, but the terms of the deal fell far short of Hamas’ demand that Israel and Egypt open Gaza’s borders.
Under the Egyptian-brokered deal, Israel is to ease imports into Gaza, including aid and material for reconstruction. It also allows Palestinians to fish six nautical miles offshore, up from three nautical miles.
In a month, the cease-fire calls for talks to begin in Cairo on more complex issues, including building a seaport and airport in Gaza, and Israel’s demand that Hamas disarm.
However, the agreement appeared to contain no major Israeli concessions and previous understandings after a round of fighting in 2012 quickly dissipated.
Previous cease-fire deals have collapsed since the war began July 8, and it was not clear if this one would hold. The truce took effect at 7 p.m. local time (1600 GMT), but violence persisted until the last minute.
In Israel, mortar shells fired from Gaza killed one man and seriously wounded two people, authorities said.
In Gaza, police reported that an Israeli airstrike 13 minutes before the cease-fire began collapsed a five-story building in the town of Beit Lahiya. Booms from Israeli strikes could be heard in Gaza after the truce announcement was made.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a long-time rival of Hamas, likely will play a key role in any new border deal for Gaza.