Israel ‘to ease Gaza blockade’ as open-ended ceasefire holds

Palestinian and Israeli leaders have agreed an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire to end the seven-week-old conflict in the Gaza Strip, officials say. Gaza’s rulers Hamas declared victory and there was celebratory gunfire in the Palestinian territory after the long-term truce came into effect. Sirens warning of rocket attacks continued to sound in southern Israel after the ceasefire was due to begin. The terms of the deal fell far short of the militant group’s demand that Israel and Egypt open Gaza’s borders.

We heard last night we are allowed to fish six miles and it will be extended to 12 miles during negotiations. There is nothing better than this.

Gaza fisherman Ahmad al-Hessi

An Israeli official confirmed his country would ease its blockade of Gaza to allow humanitarian and construction materials to enter the Palestinian territory. He said indirect talks on more complex issues would begin in the Egyptian capital Cairo within a month. Issues were expected to include a demand by Hamas for an end to the blockade, a call to build an airport and seaport there, and Israel’s demand for the group to disarm. Earlier in the day, Hamas and another militant organisation Islamic Jihad said a deal for an “open-ended” ceasefire had been reached.