Hamas has accepted an 18-month truce with Israel in the Gaza Strip, according to the deputy head of the Islamist movement's politburo, Moussa Abu Marzouk (photo). Confirmation is expected from Egyptian mediators within the next 48 hours.
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AFP - Hamas has accepted an Egyptian-brokered 18-month truce with Israel in the Gaza Strip which Egypt will announce in 48 hours, state news agency MENA quoted a senior Hamas official as saying on Thursday.
Mussa Abu Marzuk, the Islamist movement's deputy leader, said after meeting with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman that Hamas had accepted the truce in return for the lifting of the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
"We have agreed to the truce with the Israeli side for one year and a half (in return) for the opening of all six passages between the Gaza Strip and Israel," MENA quoted him as saying.
Egypt will announce the agreement after contacting Israel and Palestinian factions, he said.
Abu Marzuk, who headed a senior Hamas delegation in Cairo, said that difficulties that had prevented an agreement have been resolved, especially the issue of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Israel had insisted that Hamas release Shalit, whom Palestinian militants captured more than two years ago, as a condition for ending its blockade of Gaza, which it imposed after Hamas violently seized the enclave in June 2007.
Marzuk said that Shalit has been removed from the Gaza truce deal and that he will be released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.
Date created : 2009-02-12