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Israel accepts Egypt's Gaza truce proposal


An Israeli Merkava tank rolls at an army deployment area near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, on July 15, 2014. Israel's security cabinet accepted an Egyptian ceasefire proposal, a government spokesman said, after a week of the deadliest violence in and around Gaza in years. Photo - AFP

Israel's security cabinet on Tuesday accepted an Egyptian ceasefire proposal, a government spokesman said, after a week of the deadliest violence in and around Gaza in years.

"The cabinet has decided to accept the Egyptian initiative for a ceasefire starting 9am today," Ofir Gendelman, spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Twitter.

Ministers in the security cabinet had begun meeting early on Tuesday to consider the Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire to start immediately from 0600 GMT.

Army radio noted that there had been no parallel acceptance of the initiative by Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip.

There were no immediate reports of rocket fire at Israel after the deadline, with the army saying only two rockets had struck the south overnight, and another two shot were shot down just 15 minutes before the Egyptian initiative came into force.

Overnight, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum told AFP there would be no truce without a fully fledged deal to end hostilities.

"In times of war, you don't cease fire and then negotiate," he said.

Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, also rejected the proposal as a "surrender", pledging to "intensify" its attacks on Israel.

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