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Egypt announces Gaza ceasefire

Nov. 21, 2012 7:41 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 22, 2012 5:28 P.M.)
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Egypt’s foreign minister announced a ceasefire Wednesday between Israel and the Palestinians during a news conference in Cairo with the US secretary of state.

Mohamed Kamel Amr said the ceasefire would come into effect at 9 p.m.

"These efforts ... have resulted in understandings to cease fire and restore calm and halt the bloodshed that the last period has seen," Amr said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lauded Egypt and said it was “playing a leading role” in the region, and the thanked Egypt’s president, Muhammad Mursi, for his efforts to broker an agreement.

A Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine official confirmed to Ma’an earlier that Egyptian intelligence telephoned leaders of Palestinian factions to inform them that a ceasefire agreement had been signed and would be announced at 9 p.m. and take effect immediately.

For his part, deputy chief of Hamas Mousa Abu Marzouk said in a televised interview with the Qatar-based al-Jazeera that the agreement included that Israel should stop targeted assassinations against Palestinians, while the Palestinian resistance should stop firing missiles and explosives devices.

Border crossings should also be opened for passengers and goods, and Gaza fishermen should be able to fish freely in Gaza waters, he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US President Barack Obama on Wednesday he was ready to give a ceasefire with Hamas a chance, his office said in a statement.

"(Netanyahu) spoke a short while ago with President Barack Obama and agreed to his recommendation to give the Egyptian ceasefire proposal a chance, and in this way provide an opportunity to stabilize the situation and calm it before any more forceful action would be necessary," the statement from Netanyahu's office said.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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