Israel, Hamas accept 72-hour cease-fire in Gaza

Israel, Hamas accept 72-hour cease-fire in Gaza

Credit: Getty Images

A Palestinian boy walks past the rubble of a house after it was hit by an Israeli military strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Aug. 10, 2014.

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by Katharine Lackey / USA Today

KREM.com

Posted on August 11, 2014 at 5:46 AM

Israel and the Hamas militant group accepted an Egyptian proposal Sunday for a new 72-hour cease-fire that allows the two sides to resume negotiations toward a longer-term truce.

The announcement comes after hours of talks in Cairo where Palestinian factions accepted the proposal earlier Sunday. Israeli officials accepted the deal later.

The truce was set to begin at midnight Cairo time. Israeli negotiators — who left Cairo on Friday — were set to return to Egypt on Monday if the new truce holds.

The Egyptian-brokered talks have aimed to jump start an agreement to end the month-long conflict that has left more than 1,900 Palestinians dead and nearly 10,000 wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. In Israel, 67 people have been killed including three civilians, according to the Israeli military.

Hamas demands that Israel and Egypt lift their border blockades, while Israel says the militant group must disarm for any long-lasting agreement to take place.

"We are going to engage in serious talks in the 72 hours to end the blockade and deliver humanitarian materials into Gaza with the hope of reaching a lasting cease-fire," said Qais Abdelkarim, a member of the Palestinian delegation, adding that the aim was to end the blockade, which he called "the reason for the war."

As the two sides continued to trade fire Sunday ahead of the cease-fire, Palestinian medical officials said seven people were killed in Israeli airstrikes while the Israeli military said it hit 20 targets and reported 30 rocket attacks from Gaza.

Earlier Sunday, Palestinians had threatened to leave the negotiations if Israel refused to return. The two sides accepted a similar three-day truce last week, but fighting resumed shortly after it ended Friday.

Israel said it would not return to the negotiation table while rocket fire from Gaza continued.

"Israel will not negotiate under fire," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said early Sunday.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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