Palestinians Agree to Ceasefire

Israel agrees to withdraw from Gaza if truce holds
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 18, 2009 8:03 AM CST
A smoke trail from a rocket fired by Palestinian militants inside the Gaza Strip cuts through the sky today.   (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)
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(Newser) – Hamas and other Gaza militants have agreed to an immediate ceasefire, and will allow Israel a week to pull troops out of the area, a Hamas official said today in Egypt. Israel said it would withdraw if the truce was upheld. It had declared a unilateral ceasefire beginning early this morning, but Hamas had vowed to keep fighting until troops were withdrawn from Gaza, Reuters reports.

The Hamas official called for Israel to open its Gaza blockades and allow “all materials, food, goods and basic needs” to pass through. Western leaders and UN chief Ban Ki-Moon are set to meet later today in Egypt for further peace talks, which Egypt says will push for an Israeli pullout. “We must end Gaza's economic isolation by reopening the crossings that link it to the outside world,” said Britain’s prime minister.