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Israel, Palestinian factions reportedly agree to 72-hour cease-fire

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian factions meeting in Cairo and the Israeli government reportedly agreed to a 72-hour cease-fire in the Gaza conflict.

During that period, Egyptian mediators will work to negotiate a truce between Israel and Hamas, as well as other groups firing rockets into Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel reportedly made the decision to observe the cease-fire before polling members of his security Cabinet, who accepted his decision.

The cease-fire is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. Tuesday. On Monday, Israel observed a unilateral seven-hour humanitarian cease-fire.

Egypt has called on Israel to send a delegation to Cairo, where officials from Palestinian factions including Hamas and the Palestinian Authority gathered on Sunday night. Israel refused to attend the talks because of the collapse of previous cease-fire attempts.

On Monday, Egypt presented the Palestinians’ demands to Israel, which include an end to the blockade on Gaza of goods and people; the release of recently rearrested prisoners who had been freed in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange; the reconstruction of Gaza, including the port and the airport; and the extension of Palestinian fishing rights to 12 nautical miles.

Israel on Sunday began withdrawing troops from areas of Gaza after saying that its military had completed a main objective of the ground assault — the destruction of infiltration tunnels from Gaza into Israeli communities on the border with the coastal strip.

 

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