Egypt announces Hamas-Israel ceasefire

Egypt’s foreign minister has announced that a ceasefire in Gaza will begin at 19:00 GMT Wednesday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that a deal had been reached.

“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 stabilization of the situation and a calming of it,” the Netanyahu office’s statement reads.

Earlier, Israeli sources said the siege of Gaza will not be lifted despite the truce, Al Jazeera reported.­

The announcement comes after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN chief Ban Ki-Moon traveled to Cairo on Wednesday to push for a ceasefire as the conflict entered its eighth day.

Clinton met with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and later with Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr. The UN Secretary-General also met with Morsi.

Rumors about an imminent truce have been circulating in the media for a while.

On Tuesday, Hamas official Ayman Taha announced that an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire was to be declared in Gaza at 19:00 GMT and would go into effect at 22:00 GMT the same night. Shortly after the announcement, Israel said a ceasefire deal was yet to be finalized.

Also on Tuesday, Morsi expressed certainty that Gaza and Israel would shortly reach a ceasefire, but did not elaborate on the matter.

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