Gaza clashes go on despite cease-fire pact

JERUSALEM, June 17 (UPI) -- Three Israeli air strikes killed six people in Gaza Tuesday as word spread that an Israeli-Hamas cease-fire had been reached, officials said.

An Egyptian official says Israel and the Islamic group Hamas agreed a mutual cease-fire would be effective Thursday, The New York Times reported. The negotiations were brokered by Egypt.


Witnesses to the air strikes said the six killed were militants. Israeli military officials said the first two air strikes hit vehicles ferrying "terror operatives." The third strike was against "other activists," the army said.

Israel's Security Cabinet decided last week to pursue a cease-fire with Hamas, even though it instructed the military to be prepared in case talks failed or the truce faltered.

Israeli officials would not comment on the cease-fire.

The Arab-language newspaper Al-Hayat in London said a report indicated the pact would include three stages: first, a six-month truce in the Gaza Strip, including reopening of two crossings; second, the end of Israel's blockade of goods into the strip with some exceptions; and third, discussions on operating procedures of the Rafah crossing between Gaza Strip and Egypt.

If the cease-fire holds for six months, it would be expanded to include the West Bank, said.


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