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Israel, Hamas Agree to Truce Starting Today After Egypt Talks

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas agreed to call a halt to more than a week of air strikes and missile attacks, after talks brokered by Egypt’s Islamist government and the U.S.

The accord takes effect at 9 p.m. local time, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr told a news conference in Cairo with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Israel’s government has agreed to give the Egypt-negotiated agreement a chance, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a text message. Clinton said that she welcomed the accord and expressed hopes it will “move us closer to a comprehensive peace.”

The agreement aims to halt air strikes that have left more than 150 people dead in Gaza, and rocket attacks that have killed five Israelis, according to officials. Israel has hit more than 1,500 targets and Palestinians launched more than 1,400 missiles. Hamas, which rules Gaza, is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the U.S. and European Union.

Oil erased gains on the cease-fire reports. Crude for January delivery fell 0.2 percent to $86.62 a barrel at 12:40 p.m. in New York.

No details of the peace terms were immediately available. Israel says any truce must guarantee the end of rocket attacks, while Hamas is demanding an end to the blockade of Gaza and the permanent opening of its border with Egypt.

Israel has massed armor on its border east of Gaza and is calling up 75,000 reservists for a possible ground operation. An incursion would be the first since December 2008, when fighting left more than 1,100 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.

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