Ceasefire Deal Between Israel and Hamas Announced
After a deadly eight-day conflict, Israel and Gaza militants agreed to a ceasefire effective Wednesday at 9 p.m. (2 p.m. ET), Egypt's foreign minister announced at a press conference, Fox News reports. Mohammed Kamel Amr made the announcement in Cairo, flanked by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "Egypt is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone of international peace," Clinton said. The ceasefire agreement was later confirmed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Reuters reported that Netanyahu warned in a statement that more forceful action may be necessary if the ceasefire deal is unsuccessful. President Barack Obama called Netanyahu and commended the decision; Obama also spoke with Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and thanked him for his efforts in the deal. According to a copy of the agreement obtained by the Associated Press, Israel will end its policy of assassinating top Hamas officials, and Hamas is promising to stop all rocket fire from the many militant groups operating in the Gaza Strip. After a 24-hour cooling-off period, Israel pledges to ease its blockade of Gaza, though there are no firm assurances on how that will be done. Israel has maintained that blockade since Hamas seized power in Gaza in 2007, and has gradually lifted many of the restrictions.