Israel-Gaza ceasefire comes into effect, ending 11 days of intensive fighting

IDF air strikes in Strip and rocket fire on southern Israel continued almost until deadline to end hostilities; Egypt, which brokered agreement, dispatches delegations to both sides; Al Arabiya: Cairo planning ‘peace summit’ on long-term calm

A ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip came into effect at 2am Friday, ending 11 days of intensive fighting.

Israel’s security cabinet earlier voted unanimously to approve the truce after a three-hour debate.

In an official statement, the cabinet said the ceasefire was proposed by Egypt and would be “mutual and unconditional.”

A member of the Hamas terror group that controls Gaza told Reuters that it and Israel would enter the “mutual and simultaneous” truce at 2am on Friday. Egyptian state TV later confirmed the timing of the ceasefire.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Thursday night that the cabinet had unanimously approved the truce without preconditions on the recommendation of all defense officials, including IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman, Mossad Director Yossi Cohen and National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat.

The statement said that Israel’s achievements in Operation Guardian of the Walls were “unprecedented.”

“The political leadership emphasized that the reality on the ground will be that which determines the future of the campaign,” the statement said.

Rocket fire on southern Israel continued on Thursday night despite the reports of an imminent ceasefire. The IDF also continued its attacks on targets in the Gaza Strip.

The cabinet vote came hours after Qatari-based news outlet Al Jazeera reported that Israel had officially updated Egypt that it was ready for a cessation of hostilities.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened the security cabinet at 7pm Thursday to discuss the Gaza operation and ceasefire efforts.

According to Saudi outlet Al Arabiya, Egypt presented Israel with the draft for a ceasefire on Thursday morning, but there was still some disagreement about the timeframe for it to take effect.

The report also said that Egypt was planning to hold a “peace summit” between Israelis and Palestinians on long-term calm.

The White House said Thursday that it had seen reports of a move towards a ceasefire, which is said appeared to be encouraging.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi spoke to U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday to discuss the de-escalation of violence, the Egyptian presidency said.

Sisi and Biden agreed to continue talks and coordination between their countries in the coming period in order to contain the situation, the presidency said.

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