Israel and Hamas reportedly agree on ceasefire

Egyptian-mediated truce to end rocket fire at southern Israel would take effect at midnight

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative photo of two Kassam rockets heading toward Israel shortly after they are fired by Palestinians in Gaza. (photo credit: Edi Israel/Flash90/File)
Illustrative photo of two Kassam rockets heading toward Israel shortly after they are fired by Palestinians in Gaza. (photo credit: Edi Israel/Flash90/File)

Israel and Hamas on Wednesday evening reportedly negotiated a ceasefire, effective midnight, to end the most recent rocket barrage from the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli government made no official confirmation of the report.

The truce, believed to have been negotiated by Egyptian intelligence officer Maj. Gen. Nader al-Aasr, would see the IDF would halt its retaliatory strikes into the Gaza Strip if Hamas stops rockets from being fired into Israel, Israel Radio reported.

Over 80 missiles fired from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip struck southern Israel on Wednesday, injuring five civilians — three of them foreign workers — and damaging eight houses. Israeli retaliatory strikes on the Gaza Strip killed three Palestinians.

“The contacts Cairo made resulted in a verbal promise by Hamas to calm the situation down and Israel said it was monitoring calm on the ground and would refrain from attacks unless it was subject to rocket fire from Gaza,”a Palestinian official told Reuters.

A security official told Channel 10 news that the IDF preferred quiet to a ramping up of tensions.

“Military action will likely ignite the region, which is a matter that will require a prolonged military operation with casualties,” the official said.

Sources in the Israeli government reported that the Hamas leadership forwarded messages to Jerusalem through Egyptian intermediaries requesting a ceasefire, Israel Radio reported. The sources in Jerusalem believed that Hamas lacked the will to be dragged into a prolonged conflict with Israel, and that Israel inflicted serious damage to the group in airstrikes in the past day.

“An Egyptian-mediated truce is something that repeats itself because of their interest in regional tranquility,” the security source told Channel 10.

“Hamas and the [Islamist] factions [in the Gaza Strip] are interested in silence, we estimate, on account of Eid al-Adha in the coming days. A mutual interest has been created in which both we and they are interested in quiet,” the source said, referring to the major Muslim holiday.

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