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Palestinian factions agree to ceasefire if Israel also commits: report

Israeli soldiers take cover near the Israel Gaza border, Monday, Nov. 12, 2018. The Israeli military said it has dispatched fighter jets to strike "terror targets" throughout Gaza following a barrage of mortar and rocket fire that wounded six people.
AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov
Over 400 projectiles and rockets have been launched from Gaza as 150 Israeli strikes hit Gaza in response

Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip have agreed to a ceasefire with Israel as long as the 'Zionist entity' also commits to the agreement, Hamas-affiliated media reports.

Hamas earlier denied reports of a ceasefire as rocket alert sirens continue to sound across southern Israel.

The terrorist group ruling Gaza said it would not consider stopping launching rockets at Israel without "international guarantees," according to local media reports.

However, a Hamas official said on Tuesday “as soon as Israel stops its aggression on the Gaza Strip, the forces of the resistance will halt the fire. All mediators must stop Israel.”

Early reports suggested Palestinian militant factions in the Gaza Strip have reportedly agreed to end their massive rocket assault against Israel at the request of mediators desperately working to talk both sides down from the brink of a full-scale war.

Palestinian media reports said that Gazan militants agreed to stop firing rockets at 3:30 p.m. local time.

The reports, which emerged approximately an hour before the groups were due to halt the projectile launches, came as a new round of rocket alert sirens blared in Israeli communities near the Gaza border.

Egypt has reportedly been spearheading attempts to patch together a ceasefire to end the major flareup, which saw over 400 rockets and projectiles launched at Israeli cities beginning Monday afternoon and continuing throughout Tuesday

A joint Egypt-UN delegation is said to be arriving on Wednesday for talks in both Gaza and Israel in hopes of salvaging months of work towards a long-term truce to restore calm to the border and bring a much-needed reprieve to the impoverished Gaza Strip.

Israel has not given any official statement regarding ceasefire agreements, and conflicting reports emerged Tuesday concerning Israel's continued participation in negotiations in light of the massive rocket bombardment.

A number of diplomatic sources have claimed that Israel is no longer cooperating with UN and Egyptian efforts. At the same time, the Israeli daily Haaretz quoted a foreign diplomatic source who denied that Israeli contacts with Egypt and the UN have come to an end.

Both sides of the conflict have been urged by the international community to step back from the edge of war the past day's violence has threatened in the largest flareup in Israel-Gaza relations since the 2014 war.

AP Photo/Khalil Hamra

Egypt has told both Israel and the Palestinians that they need to commit to de-escalation and has stepped up efforts to secure a ceasefire between the foes.

Egypt is also reportedly pressuring the international community to step up and intervene to "stop Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip."

According to high-level Egyptian diplomatic sources, Egypt told Israel that it needs to stop its "escalatory operations" referring to the heavy Israeli strikes in Gaza, the Palestinian Authority news site reported.

The UN special envoy for Middle East peace, Nickolay Mladenov said Monday night that the UN was working closely with Egypt to pressure Gaza to "step back from the brink."

Truce bid

An internationally brokered agreement between Israel and Hamas has been thrown into jeopardy after the latest flareup of violence that began when an Israeli special forces operation turned deadly, with seven Hamas fighters and one IDF soldier killed.

Recent weeks have seen Israel allow Qatar to provide the Gaza Strip with millions of dollars in aid for salaries as well as fuel to help ease an electricity crisis.

Before the flare-up, Netanyahu had defended his decision to allow Qatar to transfer the cash to Gaza despite criticism from within his own government over the move, saying he wanted to avoid a war if it was not necessary.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008, and recent months have raised fears of a fourth.

Deadly clashes have accompanied major protests along the Gaza-Israel border that began on March 30.

At least 231 Palestinians have since been killed by Israeli fire, the majority shot during protests and clashes, while others died in tank fire or air strikes.

Two Israeli soldiers have been killed in that time.

Egyptian and UN officials have been mediating between Israel and Hamas in an effort to reach a long-term truce deal.

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