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Hamas official: Israel, Gaza militants agree to ceasefire

Nov. 20, 2012 6:14 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 21, 2012 3:13 P.M.)
GAZA (Reuters) -- An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire in the Gaza conflict will go into effect later on Tuesday, a Hamas official said.

"An agreement for calm has been reached. It will be declared at 9.00 p.m. and go into effect at midnight," Hamas official Ayman Taha told Reuters from Cairo, where efforts have been under way to end seven days of hostilities.

Al-Jazeera TV reported that Islamic Jihad secretary-general Ramadan Abdullah Shallah and Egyptian officials will also take part in a 9 p.m. news conference.

The TV channel said the terms of the agreement are a halt of Israeli targeted assassinations, easing of border crossings, and Gaza halting rocket fire into Israel.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told CNN that a deal has not been finalized and the "ball is still in play."

"Until you're there, you're not there," he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi said that "Israeli aggression" against Gaza would end later in the day, according to the Egyptian state news agency MENA.

"The efforts to conclude a truce between the Palestinian and Israeli sides will produce positive results in the next few hours," he was quoted as saying.

The truce deal is expected to bring an end to violence which has seen 140 Palestinians killed and over 900 injured since Israel launched its assault on Gaza after assassinating Hamas military commander Ahmad al-Jaabari on Wednesday.

Israel's military has struck over 1,000 targets since Wednesday, causing extensive damage to civilian infrastructure in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Three Israelis died in a rocket attack last Thursday.
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