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Israel Announces Cease-Fire in War Against Hamas Militants

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Israel on Thursday announced a cease-fire in the 11-day war against Hamas militants that caused widespread destruction in Gaza and brought life in much of Israel to a standstill.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced the cease-fire after a late-night meeting of his Security Cabinet.

It said the group had unanimously accepted an Egyptian proposal, though the sides were still determining exactly when it was to take effect.

Senior defense officials, including the military chief of staff and national security advisor, recommended accepting the proposal following “great accomplishments” in the operation, the statement said.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz wrote on Twitter that “the reality in the field will determine the continuation of operations.”

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One member of the Security Cabinet said the cease-fire would take effect at 2 a.m., roughly three hours after the announcement. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

A Hamas official said the declaration of a truce was a defeat for Netanyahu and “a victory to the Palestinian people.”

Ali Barakeh, a member of Hamas’ Arab and Islamic relations bureau, told The Associated Press that the militants will remain on alert until they hear from mediators. Once Hamas hears from mediators, the group’s leadership will hold discussions and make an announcement, he said.

Shortly after the announcement, air raid sirens indicating incoming rocket fire sounded in southern Israel.

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The agreement would close the heaviest round of fighting between the bitter enemies since a 50-day war in 2014, and once again there was no clear winner.

Israel inflicted heavy damage on Hamas but was unable to stop the rocket fire that has disrupted life for millions of Israelis for more than a decade.

The fighting began on May 10 when Hamas militants in Gaza fired long-range rockets toward Jerusalem after days of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police.

Israel launched hundreds of airstrikes during the operation targeting Hamas’ military infrastructure, including a vast tunnel network.

Hamas and other militant groups embedded in residential areas have fired over 4,000 rockets at Israeli cities.

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At least 230 Palestinians were killed, including 65 children and 39 women, with 1,710 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not break the numbers down into fighters and civilians. Some 58,000 Palestinians have fled their homes.

Hamas and the militant group Islamic Jihad said at least 20 of their fighters have been killed, while Israel said the number is at least 130.

Twelve people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy, a 16-year-old girl and a soldier, were killed.

Israel considers Hamas, an Islamic militant group that seeks its destruction, to be a terrorist group, and Hamas’ government is not internationally recognized.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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