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Israel has accepted an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire plan to end a seven-week war against Islamic militants in the Gaza Strip, according to an Israeli official. The official said Tuesday that Israel "responded positively" to Egypt's call for an open-ended cease-fire. Egyptian state media reported the cease-fire began at 7 p.m. local time (noon ET) Tuesday.
Hamas spokesperson Sami abu Zuhri told NBC News that the agreement was been reached between both sides under the Egyptian sponsor, and that they solved all the disputed issues.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later said on state TV,"we hope that there is a respect of this (ceasefire) for the sake of delivering on the demands and needs of our family in Gaza, and to be able to provide them all with their nutritional and medical needs, and to begin construction of all that the enemy destroyed."
An Israeli official said Israel would ease its blockade of Gaza to allow humanitarian and construction materials to enter the war-battered territory. He said indirect talks on more substantial issues would begin in Cairo within a month. Issues are expected to include Hamas' demand for an end to the blockade and Israel's calls for Hamas to disarm.
“We call on all parties to fully and completely comply with its terms. We hope very much that this cease-fire will prove to be durable and sustainable,” Jen Psaki, spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said at a briefing Tuesday. “There are many steps that need to be taken.”
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