Tentative Cease-Fire Reached In Gaza Strip

JERUSALEM (AP) -- An Israeli official says Israel has accepted an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire plan to end a seven-week war against Islamic militants in the Gaza Strip.

The official said Tuesday that Israel "responded positively" to Egypt's call for an open-ended cease-fire.

Egyptian state media reported the cease-fire was to begin at 7 p.m. local time (1600 GMT).

The Israeli official said Israel would ease its blockade of Gaza to allow humanitarian and construction materials to enter the war-battered territory.

He said indirect talks on more substantial issues would begin in Cairo within a month. Issues are expected to include Hamas' demand for an end to the blockade and Israel's calls for Hamas to disarm.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue with journalists.


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