Palestinians search the rubble of al-Qassam mosque, hit by an Israeli airstrike Saturday, in Nusseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on Sunday, 10 Aug. 2014. (Photo:AP)
Egypt has called on Israel and Palestinian factions to observe a 72-hour cease-fire beginning within hours, and to resume talks on a more comprehensive Gaza agreement.
The announcement Sunday by Egypt's Foreign Ministry comes after hours of talks with Palestinian factions in Cairo in which they accepted the proposal.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the announcement would not have been made if the cease-fire agreement was not secured, indicating that Israel had also accepted the proposal.
The statement said the cease-fire would begin at midnight Cairo time (2101 GMT) and would create the atmosphere to resume humanitarian aid as well as indirect talks, through Egypt, to reach a more lasting and comprehensive cease-fire.
Israel has accepted the new Gaza ceasefire proposed by Egyptian mediators and will send negotiators to Cairo on Monday if the truce holds, Israeli officials said.
A lasting truce must lead to the lifting by Israel of its blockade of the Gaza Strip, Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal told AFP in an exclusive interview in Doha on Sunday.
The 72-hour ceasefire Hamas reached with Israel on Sunday "is one of the ways or tactics to ensure successful negotiations or to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza," said Meshaal.
The final "goal we insist on is having the demands of Palestinians met and the Gaza Strip exist without a blockade."A previous three-day pause expired on Friday and fighting in a month-old attack on Gaza resumed.
As of Sunday afternoon, the death toll in Gaza had reached 1,917, including 449 children. According to the UN, about 73 percent of the people killed were civilians.
A total of 64 Israeli soldiers were also killed as well as three civilians on the Israel side.