Hamas official sees victory in truce statement
Beirut: An official from the Palestinian militant Hamas group says Israel’s declaration of a cease-fire represents a defeat for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a victory to the Palestinian people.
Ali Barakeh, a member of Hamas’ Arab and Islamic relations bureau, told The Associated Press that the militants will remain on alert until they hear from mediators who have been working for days between Hamas and Israel.
Hamas officials haves said that they have been contacted by officials from Russia, Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations to reach a truce with Israel.
He added that once Hamas hears back from the mediators, its leadership will hold discussions and will make an announcement after that.
Barakeh spoke just minutes after Netanyahu’s office on Thursday announced a cease-fire to halt the 11-day military operation against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
A statement said Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet unilaterally approved the Egyptian-mediated proposal.
It appears the two sides were still negotiating exactly when the cease-fire would take effect. Multiple reports said it would go into effect at 2 am, just over three hours after the cabinet’s decision.(AP)