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Israel accepts Egypt proposal to end Gaza conflict

Source: BBC

Israel has accepted a Egyptian proposal for a truce in the conflict in Gaza.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, has not formally responded. But its armed wing has rejected the plan as a “surrender”.

The proposal urges a ceasefire starting imminently, followed by a series of meetings in Cairo with high-level delegations from both sides.

Palestinian officials say at least 192 people have been killed by Israeli air strikes launched eight days ago to stop militants firing rockets into Israel.

The UN estimates that over three-quarters of these were civilians.

An estimated 1,400 Palestinians have been injured.

At least four Israelis have been seriously injured since the violence flared, but no-one has been killed.

No guarantee
Israel’s security cabinet, convened by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, voted to approve the truce on Tuesday morning, minutes before the proposed time for it to come into effect.

The BBC’s Kevin Connolly says there is no surprise in the proposal’s formula. Something like this has always been the likeliest way out of the crisis, our correspondent says.

But there is no guarantee it will work, he adds.

For now, Hamas sources are saying its attacks will “increase in ferocity and intensity” unless Israel releases prisoners and co-operates with Egypt to lift economic restrictions on Gaza.

That is not encouraging but does not mean that a deal will not ultimately be done, our correspondent says – just that it will not be easy.