Israel has reached a tentative truce with Hamas, brokered by Egypt, the BBC and AP report. Starting Thursday, the two sides will begin a “mutual and simultaneous calm,” in which militants will theoretically stop their daily cross-border rocket bombardments, and Israel will in turn cease its military raids. Some border crossings will be opened.
The ceasefire is the first step in an Egyptian plan; the second stage would involve the return of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and the reopening the main Rafah crossing into Egypt. Hamas doesn’t directly control the rockets, but an official said he’s confident the various splinter groups that fire them will abide by the Egypt-brokered agreement. Israelis expressed cautious optimism, saying they expect negotiations on Shalit to begin on Sunday.