Hopes Rise for Gaza Ceasefire
(GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip) — Hopes for a ceasefire between Israel and Islamic militants in Gaza rose Tuesday as Hamas declared that a ceasefire would be announced and Israel indicated that a deal was possible.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told ABC News the news would be announced at a press conference in Cairo where Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has been trying to broker an end to the fighting.
An Islamic Jihad website also reported that the ceasefire would go into effect Tuesday.
Israeli officials, however, told ABC News that a final deal had not been concluded and if there was a pact it would be announced after midnight local time, or 5 p.m. ET, following a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Clinton flew to the region Tuesday to meet with Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas about the fighting.
A ceasefire, if it can be reached, would bring a halt to the worst violence between Gaza and Israel in four years. In the meantime, however, Abu Zuhri called on all militant groups to continue firing rockets on Israel “in retaliation for the Israeli massacres.”
Israeli missiles also continued to explode in Gaza while sirens sounded in Israel, signaling incoming rocket fire from Gaza.
Gazans streamed out of northern neighborhoods during the afternoon after the Israel Defense Forces dropped leaflets telling residents to evacuate before dark. Scared Palestinians poured into Gaza City, cars and trucks piled high with belongings, many heading to schools for shelter.
There have been 126 Palestinian deaths in six days of fighting, just under half were civilians. Three Israelis were killed last Thursday when a rocket slammed into their apartment.
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