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Hamas, Israel agree Egypt-mediated truce to end Gaza flare-up: Officials

Smoke billows following an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City on August 9, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Palestinian officials have confirmed that the resistance movement Hamas and the Israeli regime have agreed on a ceasefire mediated by Egypt to stop cross-border fire in the Gaza Strip.

A Palestinian official with knowledge of the ceasefire talks said Thursday that the truce was to begin at 20:45 GMT. Israel did not formally comment on the issue, but an Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, denied a cease-fire had been reached.

Another unnamed Palestinian official confirmed to Reuters the truce had been reached, saying, "Egyptian efforts managed to restore calm between Palestinian factions and Israel that will end the current escalation."

"Palestinian factions will respect calm as long as Israel does," he added.

Earlier in the day, Hamas deputy chief in Gaza Khalil al-Hayya said efforts to reach a truce with the Israeli regime were at “an advanced stage.” He added that the resistance movement would insist on its position that the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip has to be lifted as part of any talks with Tel Aviv.

The development comes after two days of Israeli aerial raids against at least 150 positions in Gaza.

The regime in Tel Aviv says the airstrikes were launched after a long-range rocket fired from the Palestinian coastal sliver hit an uninhabited area to the south of the occupied Palestinian territories. Hamas has claimed responsibility for the rocket attack, stressing that they were in retaliation for the killing of two Palestinians by Israeli forces.

According to medical officials, the Israeli regime’s airstrikes killed Enas Khammash, a pregnant Gazan woman, and her 18-month-old daughter Bayan, as well as another Palestinian.

Hundreds of Palestinian mourners took part in the funeral for the woman and the baby on Thursday in the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas earlier urged the United Nations to stop Israel’s latest aggression against Gaza, which has been under a crippling Israeli siege for the past decade.

Egypt and the UN intervened to broker the ceasefire and prevent Israel from launching another war on Gaza after tensions escalated in recent weeks.

Israel has killed more than 150 people since March when Palestinians began to stage protests on the border to demand an end to the blockade and the return of the Palestinians to the occupied territories.  

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