Hamas agree to long-term truce with Israel

27 August 2014 BBC Online


Egypt has brokered an agreement on a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, senior Palestinian officials have said.
Hamas negotiator Moussa Abu Marzouk said the deal to end seven weeks of fighting that has left more than 2,200 people dead would be announced shortly.
The Palestinians said Israel had agreed to ease its blockade of Gaza to allow in aid supplies and building materials.
There was no immediate comment from the Israeli government.
The apparent breakthrough came as both sides continued to trade fire.
On Tuesday morning after Israeli jets bombed two high-rise buildings in Gaza City.
The strikes flattened the Basha Tower, containing flats and offices, and severely damaged the Italian Complex, comprising homes, shops and offices.
Twenty people were injured in the attack on the Italian Complex, and two others were killed in Israeli strikes elsewhere in Gaza, medics said.
In Israel, 10 people were hurt when a rocket fired by militants in Gaza hit a house in the southern town of Ashkelon, police said. Another rocket was intercepted in the Tel Aviv area, to the north.
Cairo's initiative, Palestinians officials said, called for an indefinite halt to seven weeks of hostilities, the immediate opening of Gaza's blockaded crossings with Israel and Egypt and a widening of the enclave's fishing zone in the Mediterranean.
Under a second stage that would begin a month later, Israel and the Palestinians would discuss the construction of a Gaza sea port and an Israeli release of Hamas prisoners in the occupied West Bank, the officials said.
Both Israel and Egypt view Hamas as a security threat and are demanding guarantees that weapons will not enter the economically crippled territory.
Increasing pressure on Palestinian militants to end their rocket strikes, Israel bombed more of Gaza's tallest structures on Tuesday, bringing down a 13-storey apartment and office tower and destroying most of a 16-floor residential building.
The strikes flattened the Basha Tower and wrecked the Italian Complex, after occupants were warned to get out, and no deaths were reported.
Declining to comment specifically on the attacks, the Israeli military said it had hit 15 "terror sites", including some in buildings that housed Hamas command and control centers.
Hamas, the dominant militant group in the Gaza Strip, accused Israel of an "unprecedented act of revenge against civilians" aimed at deterring Palestinians from supporting the Islamist movement.
Palestinian health officials say 2,129 people, most of them civilians, including more than 490 children, have been killed in Gaza since July 8, when Israel launched an offensive with the declared aim of ending the rocket salvoes.
Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and four civilians in Israel have been killed.
Thousands of homes in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed or damaged in the conflict. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said 540,000 people had been displaced in the territory where Palestinians, citing Israeli attacks that have hit schools and mosques, say no place is safe.

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