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Middle East

Gaza militants agree to Egyptian-brokered truce with Israel

media Israeli tank on the border with Gaza AFP PHOTO/David Buimovitch

Gaza's Popular Resistance Committee on Monday agreed to halt rocket fire on Israel and abide by an Egyptian-brokered truce, after 4 days of clashes.

At a press conference, a masked spokesman for Gaza's PRC group declared that its militants would respect a "temporary" ceasefire which was announced late on Sunday by the territory's Hamas rulers.

Israel blames the PRC for a series of bloody attacks near Eilat last week, which killed eight Israelis and sparked days of bloodshed.

But the PRC, whose leader was killed in a series of Israeli air strikes late last week, insisted they would not sign up to a permanent ceasefire, adding "we have an open account with the enemy until it leaves Palestinian soil."

The announcement came just hours after a senior Hamas official said the factions had hammered out a truce agreement in talks with Egyptian officials, which would be conditional on Israel stopping its air strikes on Gaza.

The ceasefire comes as Israel tries to head off a diplomatic crisis with Egypt, sparked by Thursday's attack near Eilat, with Cairo saying five Egyptian policemen were killed by Israeli fire as troops pursued gunmen along the border.

Israeli newspapers suggest today that the worry over a crisis in relations with Egypt led the Israeli government to order the army to reduce its attacks on targets in the Gaza strip.

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