Thursday, May 20, 2021 11:04 pm
Israel and Hamas will cease fire across the Gaza Strip border on Friday. Reuters cited the Palestinian Islamist faction and Egyptian state TV, bringing a potentially tenuous halt to the fiercest fighting in years.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, according to Reuters, said his security cabinet had voted unanimously in favour of a “mutual and unconditional” Gaza truce proposed by Egypt, but added that the hour of implementation had yet to be agreed.
Reuters goes further: “Hamas and Egypt said the truce would begin at 2 a.m. (2300 GMT Thursday), ending 11 days of Israeli-Palestinian hostilities.
Within minutes of the announcements, in the countdown to the ceasefire, the sides were trading blows again. Sirens warned of incoming rockets in Israeli border communities, and a Reuters reporter heard an air strike in Gaza.
There was no immediate word of casualties.
Amid growing global alarm at the bloodshed, U.S. President Joe Biden urged Netanyahu on Wednesday to seek de-escalation, while Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations sought to mediate.
Biden was due to deliver remarks on the Middle East at 5:45 p.m. Washington-time (2145 GMT), the White House said.
Hamas said the ceasefire would be “mutual and simultaneous”.