JERUSALEM (JTA) — Egypt announced a new cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian groups shortly after an Israeli struck by a Gaza mortar died of his wounds.
The official Egyptian News Agency announced Tuesday evening that the cease-fire would begin at 7 p.m.
In the hour leading up to the announced cease-fire, dozens of mortars and rockets were fired at southern Israel. One Israeli was killed and at least two more were seriously injured in the Eshkol region.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in a televised speech at the start of a leadership meeting in Ramallah, said, “We announce the Palestinian leadership’s agreement to Egypt’s call for a comprehensive and lasting truce beginning at 7 p.m. today.”
Israeli Cabinet ministers reportedly were informed earlier in the evening that the cease-fire proposal had been accepted. The proposal did not require a Cabinet vote.
According to reports, the open-ended cease-fire would see the immediate opening of border crossings from Gaza into Israel and Egypt, and the expansion of Gaza’s fishing zone.
The second phase would begin in a month, with discussion of the construction of a Gaza seaport and the Israeli release of Hamas prisoners.
The sides have agreed to numerous cease-fires since Israel launched its military operation in Gaza early last month to stop rocket fire from the coastal strip.
The U.S. State Department welcomed news of the cease-fire.
“We call on all parties to fully and completely comply with its terms, and hope very much that the cease-fire will prove to be durable and sustainable,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at the daily briefing.
“We view this as an opportunity, not a certainty,” Psaki said. “There is a long road ahead and we’re aware of that, and we’re going into this eyes wide open.”