Hamas, Islamic Jihad say cease-fire may begin in coming hours

Egypt is reportedly pressing on Palestinian factions to accept a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire that will precede negotiations for a long-term truce; southern Israeli communities pounded by rockets.

Hamas' armed wing spokesman speaks during a news conference in Gaza City July 3, 2014. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas' armed wing spokesman speaks during a news conference in Gaza City July 3, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Islamic Jihad and Hamas officials said Monday that a humanitarian cease-fire, temporarily ending nearly a month of hostilities between Gaza and Israel, could be implemented in the coming hours.
Egypt is pressing the Palestinian factions in Cairo to accept a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire, Egyptian sources told Lebanon's Al Mayadeen on Monday.
Palestinian groups, including representatives from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, held their first formal meeting in Cairo on Monday with Egyptian mediators hoping to pave the way towards a durable cease-fire agreement with Israel.
Israel has not sent a representative to the talks. According the Egyptian sources, Egypt accepted a document detailing the Palestinian delegation's set of demands for a cease-fire.
Egypt, the sources said, promised to call Israel to join the negotiations, after Hamas and other Gaza factions agree to a humanitarian cease-fire that would include a withdrawal of IDF troops from Gaza.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday that the Gaza operation was continuing, and will only end when "quiet and security for a prolonged period of time is restored to Israeli citizens.”
Netanyahu, in his comments, made no mention of reports that US Secretary of State John Kerry was trying to broker another 72-hour cease fire. The last one he brokered, together with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, ended 90 minutes after it began last Friday with the killing of two IDF soldiers and the abduction of a third.
Meanwhile, heavy rocket fire continued to hit Israel's southern communities and the IDF resumed attacks in Gaza after observing a unilateral cease-fire from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.