The escalating violence in Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip will end today thanks to a cease fire agreement coordinated by Egypt. Due to allegiance to Hamas and good relations with Israel and the United States, Egypt will take on a peace keeping role in the deal. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared with Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr as he announced the agreement. She said the cease-fire will "improve conditions for the people of Gaza and provide security for the people of Israel.”
The cease-fire will go into effect at 9 p.m. local time, according to Amr. After a day of peace, border crossings between the countries will be opened. Israel will also begin to lift its blockade, which was put into effect in 2007 when Hamas seized control of Gaza.
A statement posted on the official White House website says President Barack Obama praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for agreeing to the cease-fire.
“The President commended the Prime Minister for agreeing to the Egyptian ceasefire proposal – which the President recommended the Prime Minster do – while reiterating that Israel maintains the right to defend itself,” the statement reads. “The President said that the United States would use the opportunity offered by a ceasefire to intensify efforts to help Israel address its security needs, especially the issue of the smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza.”
The agreement was reached just hours after militants bombed a bus in Tel Aviv. No deaths were reported, but twenty-two people were injured. Hamas did not claim responsibility, but the group did praise the attack. The explosion capped 8 days of violence. Since November 14, Israel has carried out more than 1,500 airstrikes and other attacks in Gaza. Gaza filed more than 1,000 rockets on Israel. The death toll currently stands at 144 Palestinians and just 5 Israelis.
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