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Egypt mediates cease-fire between Israel, Gaza militants

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Egypt has mediated a cease-fire between Palestinian militant factions and Israel after four days of violence, the Associated Press reported today, citing an unidentified Egyptian security official.

The official told the AP that the cease-fire went into effect at 1 a.m. today. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. It was not clear when a formal announcement of a cease-fire would be made.

The official said that after hours of talks, the Palestinians agreed to stop launching rockets at southern Israeli cities and Israel agreed to stop targeting militants in airstrikes.

Neither Palestinian militant groups nor Israel would immediately comment. There were no reports of violence by either side.

The fighting was triggered by Israel's killing of a militant leader last week. Twenty-four Palestinians died, including seven on Monday, and about 1 million Israelis in rocket range have seen their lives disrupted by the threat of attacks, with frequent sirens warning them to run for cover.

Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had warned that Israel would keep striking those trying to harm its civilians.

Gaza militants had insisted that Israel stop firing first and that it promise to halt airstrikes aimed at killing Gaza militants for good — a guarantee Israel is unlikely to give.

Vote against envoy

Egypt's Islamist-dominated parliament voted unanimously Monday to expel Israel's ambassador and halt gas exports to the Jewish state. The motion is largely symbolic because only the ruling military council can make such decisions, and it is unlikely to act. But it signals the change in Egypt after the ouster of longtime Israel ally Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt mediates cease-fire between Israel, Gaza militants 03/12/12 [Last modified: Monday, March 12, 2012 11:27pm]
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