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Palestinian Israeli conflict

Israel approves Gaza ceasefire after nearly two weeks of violence

Published: Updated:

Israeli media say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Security Cabinet has approved a unilateral cease-fire to halt an 11-day military operation in the Gaza Strip.

The decision came after heavy US pressure to halt the offensive.

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Israel and Hamas will enter a "mutual and simultaneous" Gaza truce at 2 am on Friday (2300 GMT Thursday), a Hamas official told Reuters.

Family members of the Vaizel family, sit in the kitchen of their house which was damaged after it was hit by a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip earlier this week, in Ashkelon, Israel May 20, 2021. (Reuters)
Family members of the Vaizel family, sit in the kitchen of their house which was damaged after it was hit by a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip earlier this week, in Ashkelon, Israel May 20, 2021. (Reuters)

An Egyptian official said Israel has informed his government, which is mediating a truce, that it intends to end its military operations in Gaza. Speaking on condition of anonymity because he was discussing behind-the-scenes diplomacy, he said an announcement was expected following the Security Cabinet meeting.

The official spoke shortly after Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi talked by phone with President Joe Biden. The two leaders discussed ways to stop violence in the Palestinian Territories, al-Sissi’s office said.

In Washington, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said reports of a move toward a ceasefire were “clearly encouraging." She said the US was trying “to do everything we can to bring an end to the conflict.”

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