'Hamas agrees to enforce cease-fire on Gaza factions'

"Truce has started," Palestinian official says; PMO denies that Israel signed any agreement with Hamas, is monitoring ceasefire in Gaza.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
August 22, 2011 12:48
2 minute read.
A Palestinian terrorist fires a rocket into Israel

Palestinian terrorist 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Hamas has agreed to enforce a cease-fire on smaller Palestinian factions in Gaza, which have been responsible for most of the rockets fired at Israel in the escalation of recent days, a Palestinian officials said on Monday.

One official who was involved in mediating talks between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza said the groups had "reached an understanding on a truce and that the truce has started."

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Officials said that Israel and the Hamas Islamist group which controls the Gaza Strip have agreed to a cease-fire after five days of cross-border violence.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's Office denied that it was partner to any signed cease-fire agreement in Gaza.

A source in the PMO told Army Radio, "We do not sign agreements with Hamas, not directly and not indirectly."

He added, "Israel is monitoring the implementation of the cease-fire. If they continue the shooting, we'll respond accordingly."


At a late-night meeting with security cabinet ministers, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu concluded that Israel will not respond to any attacks from Gaza with a large-scale operation.



Other diplomatic sources expressed concern that escalation in the South could upset Egypt and hurt Israel at the UN vote for Palestinian statehood in September.

By weakening Israel's stance in the international arena ahead of the Palestinian statehood decree in September, one senior diplomatic source told Army Radio, "Hamas will be seen as leading the way for the establishment of a Palestinian state."

Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel resumed on Sunday evening and continued through early Monday morning despite reports that Hamas was attempting to get Palestinian factions to agree to an immediate cease fire.

Four Kassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip after midnight on Sunday landed in Sderot, the Eshkol Regional Council area and on the outskirts of Ashkelon. No injuries or damage were reported in the attacks. An additional rocket damaged a building in the Eshkol Regional Council on Monday morning and the Iron Dome anti-rocket shield intercepted one rocket fired in the direction of Ashkelon.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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