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Wed 21 Nov 2012 09:07 PM

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Israel, Hamas 'agree to Gaza ceasefire deal'

Egypt announces deal has been reached to end conflict which has claimed 145 lives

Israel, Hamas 'agree to Gaza ceasefire deal'
Israeli firemen douse a burning car after a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip landed in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod on November 17, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images)

Egypt announced on Wednesday that a ceasefire had been reached to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, starting later in the day.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr made the announcement in a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The ceasefire would come into effect at 1900 GMT, Amr said.

"These efforts ... have resulted in understandings to cease fire and restore calm and halt the bloodshed that the last period has seen," Amr said.

First word of the truce came from a Palestinian official who has knowledge of the negotiations in Cairo, where US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was also pursuing peace efforts.

Asked whether a ceasefire deal had been reached, an Egyptian official in Cairo said: "Yes, and Egypt will announce it."

Egyptian state TV had earlier said a news conference would be broadcast from President Mohamed Mursi's palace shortly.

Israeli sources said Israel had agreed to a truce, but would not lift its blockade of the Palestinian territory, which is run by the Islamist Hamas movement.

All the sources declined to be named or to give further details of the arrangements hammered out in Cairo.

More than 140 Palestinians and five Israelis have been killed in the fighting that began last Wednesday.

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