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Report: Egypt to announce ceasefire agreement

Aug. 25, 2014 10:09 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 25, 2014 1:06 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli military sources say Egypt could announce a one-month ceasefire agreement in Gaza on Monday after mediators made significant progress, Israeli news site Walla reported.

According to the Hebrew language site, Egypt will make the announcement late Monday, with both Hamas and Islamic Jihad having reportedly agreed to the deal.

The agreement includes the first stage of opening the Rafah crossing and the expansion of Gaza's fishing zone to 12 nautical miles, Walla reported.

Israel will also gradually allow more commercial products into Gaza, including construction material, via the Kerem Shalom crossing if the ceasefire is maintained.

On Sunday, Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal said that the group insists that the siege on Gaza is lifted and that Gazans were being starved by a lack of food and medicine.

Speaking to an Iranian TV station, the Hamas leader said negotiations with Israel were pointless as nothing has been achieved through talks.

"Only by force and pressure did Israel give us land back," Mashaal said.

In a statement on Saturday, the Egyptian foreign ministry urged "concerned parties" in the Gaza conflict to accept an open-ended truce and resume indirect negotiations in Cairo.

Previous ceasefires with fixed timeframes have failed to give Egyptian mediators shuttling between Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams enough time to broker a deal acceptable to both.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP that "any proposal offered to the movement will be discussed".

At least than 2,120 Palestinians and 68 people on the Israeli side, all but four of them soldiers, have been killed since July 8.

The United Nations says 70 percent of the Palestinian victims were civilians, and that among the dead were 478 children.
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