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Israel-Gaza conflict: Long-term ceasefire agreed between Hamas and Israel

By Lizzie Dearden

Hamas has claimed "victory for the resistance" with an open-ended ceasefire agreed with Israel that could end the seven-week war in Gaza.

An Israeli official says that Israel has accepted an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire plan.

The official said that Israel "responded positively" to Egypt's call for an open-ended cease-fire.

Egyptian state media reported the cease-fire was to begin at 7pm local time.

The Israeli official said Israel would ease its blockade of Gaza to allow humanitarian and construction materials to enter the war-battered territory.

A senior Hamas official said that a peace deal had been reached with Israel to end the latest conflict in the coastal enclave that has killed more than 2,000 people.

The official said the deal calls for an "open-ended" ceasefire and an Israeli agreement to ease its blockade of Gaza to allow aid supplies and construction materials into the war-battered territory.

Talks on long-running issues, including Hamas' demand to reopen Gaza's airport and sea port, and its desired release of prisoners in the West bank, would begin in a month.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli Government.

If the terms of a peace deal proposed by Egypt are agreed, it would effectively mean Hamas settled for similar conditions that ended a week of clashes Israel in 2012.

Israel then promised to ease restrictions on imports and movement gradually and Hamas vowed to stop rocket attacks from Gaza.

Although peace was largely maintained, the blockade that had been imposed on Gaza by Egypt and Israel after Hamas overthrew the Palestinian Government in 2007 remained.

Both countries view Hamas as a security threat and are demanding guarantees that weapons will not enter the territory.

The restrictions stop almost all of Gaza's 1.8 million residents travelling or trading outside the territory and have decimated its economy.

During the latest conflict, Hamas said it would only put an end to hostilities if the blockade is completely lifted but Israel has escalated its strikes in Gaza in recent days, toppling five high-rise buildings housing offices, apartments and shops.

At least 2,133 Palestinians have been killed more than 11,000 wounded in the latest conflict, according to Palestinian health officials and the UN estimates more than 17,000 homes have been destroyed, leaving 100,000 people homeless.

On the Israeli side, 68 people have been killed, including four civilians.

Source: Independent

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