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Israel, Palestinians Agree to New Gaza Cease-fire, Reports Say

Aug. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to a new truce to halt fighting in the Gaza Strip, according to media reports from both sides in the conflict.

Palestinians attending peace talks in Cairo approved a 72- hour cease-fire proposed by Egyptian mediators, Hamas’s official Al-Rai news agency said. Israel’s Channel 2 said the country had agreed to the proposal, citing an official it didn’t name. There was no confirmation of the accord from Israel.

The reports came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he wouldn’t order a return to peace talks before rocket fire from Gaza ended. Air raid sirens alerting Israelis to rocket attacks continued to sound after the news of a possible truce emerged. An earlier three-day halt to hostilities collapsed Aug. 8 with renewed rocket attacks.

Last week’s cease-fire was negotiated as a possible springboard for a more lasting settlement after three major military confrontations in less than six years. More than 1,900 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians, have been killed in more than a month of fighting, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Israel, which like the U.S. and European Union considers Hamas a terrorist group, accuses Hamas of deliberately putting civilians in harm’s way, in part by operating within residential areas. The violence has claimed 67 lives on the Israeli side, including three civilians.

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