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Middle East

Hamas agrees 24 hour truce in Gaza

Article published on the 2008-12-22 Latest update 2008-12-23 13:22 TU

Hamas militant
(Credit: Reuters)

Hamas militant
(Credit: Reuters)

Hamas has agreed to stop rocket and mortar fire against Israel for 24 hours at the request of Egyptian mediators. In exchange, the militants will receive a delivery of aid from Egypt. The announcement comes just days after the end of a six-month truce with Israel which ended on Friday.

Correspondent Elias Zananeri in the West Bank says the current truce could be used by Egypt to gauge whether Hamas is willing to agree another ceasefire with Egypt.

"If Hamas will extend the truce for more than one day or a week, maybe it will get to the point were they succeed in signing another truce," he says. 

Since the cease-fire was formally called off, the Israeli army has carried out several air strikes, in which one militant and several Palestinians were wounded.

Interview:Correspondent Elias Zananeri, West Bank

22/12/2008 by Rosslyn Hyams

Meanwhile, two leading candidates to become Israel's next prime minister after the general election on 10 February have vowed to topple Hamas if elected.

Foreign minister Tzipi Livni said Israel had to react when it is fired upon and must re-establish its forces of dissuasion.

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Likud party leader, called for an active policy of attack and said the current government was too passive.

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon has warned that a major escalation in violence would have grave consequences for the populations in Israel and Gaza.