Both sides agree Gaza ceasefire
Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire brokered by Egypt on the eighth day of intensive Israeli fire on the Gaza Strip and militant rocket attacks out of the enclave, Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian sources said.
First word of the truce came from a Palestinian official who has knowledge of the negotiations in Cairo, where US secretary of state Hillary Clinton was also pursuing peace efforts. An Egyptian source said the truce included an end to "assassinations" and "incursions" and would ease movement of Palestinians.
At a press conference in Cairo this evening, Egyptian foreign minister Kamel Armr confirmed the ceasefire will go ahead and would start at 7pm Irish time.
Mrs Clinton said the the US and Egypt will work together to support the next steps and would "consolidate progress, improve conditions for people of Gaza and provide security for people of Israel."
"There is no substitute for a just and lasting peace," she said.
Medical officials in Gaza said 144 Palestinians, more than half of them civilians, including 36 children, have been killed in Israel's offensive. Nearly 1,400 rockets have been fired into Israel, killing four civilians and a soldier, the military said.
Mrs Clinton said Egypt's new government had assumed "a role of responsibility and leadership" in the crisis but warned that the rocket attacks must end for the truce to last.
"The people of this region deserve the chance to live free of fear and violence," the US secretary of state said.
The ceasefire was forged despite a bus bomb explosion that wounded 15 Israelis in Tel Aviv earlier in the day and despite more Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.
Israel's government has agreed to give the Egypt-negotiated agreement a chance, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the announcement.
The agreement aims to halt air strikes that have left more than 150 people dead in Gaza, and rocket attacks that have killed five Israelis, according to officials. Israel has hit more than 1,500 targets and Palestinians launched more than 1,400 missiles.
"I know there are citizens who would have expected a tougher military operation and that still may be required, but at this point the right thing for the state of Israel is to take this opportunity to achieve a ceasefire," Mr Netanyahu said in remarks broadcast on Israeli television.
The exiled leader of Hamas said that Israel had failed in its "adventure" when it launched attacks on Gaza and and accepted Palestinian terms.
"It failed, praise be to God," Khaled Meshaal told a news conference in Cairo, adding that Israel had "failed in its adventure".
UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon urged Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement to stick to pledges under the deal.
"We urge the parties who agreed to the ceasefire to keep their promises. There may be challenges implementing this agreement," Ban told reporters after talks with King Abdullah at the monarch's residence in the Jordanian capital. Mr Ban urged the two sides to exercise "maximum restraint".
The negotiations took place as Israeli air strikes pummeled the Palestinian enclave and a bomb exploded on a Tel Aviv bus.
After talks in Ramallah with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, Mrs Clinton held a second meeting with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu before travelling to Egypt for discussions with president Mohamed Mursi, whose country is the main broker in efforts to end eight days of fighting.