After deadly violence throughout Gaza overnight, and a bus explosion in Tel Aviv that injured 19 people, there were fears that diplomatic progress in Israel would remain elusive, but this afternoon, Israel and Hamas reached a cease-fire agreement.
Israel and Hamas have agreed to a cease-fire, the Egyptian foreign minister said Wednesday, ending eight days of fighting that killed more than 140 Palestinians and five Israelis.
The cease-fire is set to start at 9 p.m. Cairo time (2 p.m. ET), Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr announced in a news conference alongside visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"The United States welcomes the agreement today for the cease-fire in Gaza," Clinton said, adding that Egypt's new government was exerting responsibility and leadership in the region. "This is a critical moment for the region," she said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the agreement, but did not strike an optimistic tone about the near future. In a statement, Netanyahu said he'd spoken with President Obama and "responded positively to his recommendation to give a chance to the Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire and to allow an opportunity to stabilize the situation and to calm it down before there is a need to use much greater force."