Two senior Hamas officials said agreement has been reached on the terms of an open-ended truce to end the conflict between Gaza Strip militants and Israel.
“Talks are over now and we are heading toward understandings,” Hamas official Mussa Abu Marzuk said, according to the al-Rainews agency affiliated with the Islamist movement that rules Gaza.
Ismail Haniyeh, the Gaza-based deputy head of Hamas, said “we are on the cusp of political understandings,” al-Rai reported.
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said he couldn’t confirm that a truce had been reached.
A cease-fire would end 50 days of fighting that has killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including hundreds of women and children, and 68 Israelis, all but four of them soldiers.
Israel said it initiated a military operation against Hamas, which it regards as a terrorist organization along with the U.S. and European Union, to stop rocket fire from Gaza.
Palestinian negotiator Qais Abdel Karim said Israel’s crossings with Gaza would be opened. He said no time had been set for the cease-fire to take effect, and that Hamas’s demand for an airport and seaport for Gaza would be discussed later.
Hamas had said it would only accept a truce if Israel eased its restrictions on border crossings with Gaza, saying the limits on the movement of goods and people cause civilian suffering. Israel had demanded that the transit points be supervised by a third party to prevent arms smuggling, and called for the disarming of Hamas and other Gaza militant groups. It began imposing stiff restrictions at the crossings after Hamas won Palestinian elections in 2006, citing security concerns.