Gaza ceasefire from Thursday: report

June 17th, 2008 - 11:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Cairo, June 17 (Xinhua) Israel, Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza have agreed to an Egyptian-mediated truce from Thursday, the Egyptian MENA news agency reported Tuesday. The two sides have agreed to implement the first stage of a reciprocal and simultaneous period of calm in the Gaza Strip from 6:00 a.m. Thursday, a senior Egyptian official was quoted by MENA as saying.

Egypt expressed the hope that both sides would adhere to the agreement, pledging continuing efforts with all parties concerned in support of the Palestinian cause, the report added.

The truce agreement came as six Palestinians were killed and two wounded Tuesday afternoon in three separate Israeli airstrikes on southern and central Gaza Strip.

Egypt has been acting as a mediator between Israel and Gaza militant groups to broker a ceasefire in Gaza. Israel wants Gaza militants to stop rockets attacks on southern Israel in exchange for opening the closed Gaza border crossings.

Earlier Tuesday, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the truce agreement “would detail a separation between the Tahdi’a (truce) and the case of captive Israel soldier Gilad Shalit,” who was seized in June 2006 by three militant groups led by Hamas.

The truce would also include a cessation of fire, ending the blockade and reopening the closed border crossings of the Gaza Strip, he said, adding that after the truce is implemented, Shalit case would be intensively negotiated.

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