CARLO BASILONE (VOICEOVER): Hamas announced on Tuesday it has reached a ceasefire with Israel. The truce is meant to end hostilities between the two that have killed more than 400 Palestinians and 7 Israelis over the past year. The Egyptian-brokered accord, set to go into effect on Thursday, has the bigger aim of ending Israel’s year-long economic blockade of Gaza and bringing home a captive Israeli soldier. The announcement capped months of Egyptian-brokered negotiations that have been repeatedly marred by violence.
FAWZI BARHOUM, HAMAS SPOKESMAN: In Hamas, we’re committed to the zero time of the declaration of the accord between us and this occupation, which was declared from the Egyptian side. And we have the right to respond to any Israeli occupation attacking against the Palestinians, in order to protect ourself and the Palestinians, till this zero point of this declaration.
BASILONE: Though Israel has not officially confirmed the deal, they cautiously promised a new situation if the rocket fire ends.
MARK REGEV, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER’S SPOKESMAN: Israel’s security cabinet decided already last week that we prefer the Egyptian track, and that is still the policy of the government of Israel. Words are important, deeds much more so. If indeed we see an end of hostile terrorist attacks from Gaza into Israel, if indeed we see the end to the Hamas military buildup inside the Gaza Strip, if indeed we see movement on the issue of our hostage, Gilad Shalit, then of course it’ll be an entirely new situation.
BASILONE: According to The Guardian, Israeli defense officials said they expected negotiations on Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured two years ago, to begin on Sunday, in effect confirming that a truce was on the way. Underlining the fragile situation, Israeli aircraft attacked targets in southern Gaza on Tuesday, killing a total of six Palestinians. The Israeli military said seven rockets were fired into Israel.
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