Israel, Hamas Agree to a Ceasefire

The Israeli government and the Palestinian militant group Hamas have agreed to a ceasefire after 11 days of the worst fighting in the region in years.

The Israeli Security Cabinet had “unanimously” agreed to accept the Egyptian proposal for a “mutual ceasefire without pre-conditions,” according to a statement released by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Office.

Senior Hamas Leader Osama Hamdan told Lebanese TV channel Al-Mayadeen that the ceasefire would begin at 2 a.m. local time on May 21.

“We obtained guarantees from the mediators that the aggression on Gaza will stop,” Hamdan said.

However, a spokesperson for the military wing of Hamas said that the militant group was prepared to continue launching attacks if Israel attacks before 2 a.m.

The agreement to the ceasefire came a day after United States President Joe Biden, who received pressure from Democrats in Congress to stop arms sale to Israel, spoke with Netanyahu for “a significant de-escalation” towards a ceasefire.

The White House also said on May 20 that Biden discussed efforts toward a ceasefire with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and that they would “stay closely in touch.”

The agreement also followed growing international pressure from governments and protests urging Israel to withdraw military operations that hit Gaza with airstrikes.

According to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, the Israeli airstrikes have killed 232 Palestinians, including 65 children.

The Israeli airstrikes have also displaced around 72,000 Palestinians as of May 19, according to the United Nations.

Israeli attacks have also damaged at least 18 hospitals and clinics and destroyed one facility, according to the World Health Organization.

Meanwhile, Palestinian militant fire from Gaza killed at least 12 Israelis, including two children, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

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