Gaza Ceasefire To Be Announced

ABC News
Hopes Rise for Gaza Ceasefire
Hopes Rise for Gaza Ceasefire (ABC News)

A ceasefire between Hamas and Israel will be announced tonight, almost a week after the assassination of Hamas' top military commander led to the worst violence between Gaza and Israel in four years.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told ABC News the news would be announced at 8 p.m. in Cairo (1 p.m. ET), where Egypt has been trying to broker a peace deal. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Egyptian mediator would make the announcement, Barhoum said. Earlier, an Islamic Jihad website reported that the ceasefire would go into effect at 9 p.m. local time.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz also reported that a ceasefire would begin tonight, citing senior Israeli officials.

The news comes just hours before American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lands in Israel for discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas about the fighting.

As the news broke, Israeli missiles continued to explode in Gaza while sirens sounded in Israel, signalling incoming rocket fire from Gaza.

Gazans streamed out of northern neighborhoods during the afternoon after the Israel Defense Forces dropped leaflets telling residents to evacuate before dark. Scared Palestinians poured into Gaza City, cars and trucks piled high with belongings, many heading to schools for shelter.

There have been 126 Palestinian deaths in six days of fighting, just under half were civilians. Three Israelis were killed last Thursday when a rocket slammed into their apartment.