Gaza truce reached, Hamas says
(CNN) — A truce has been reached that would end the fighting between Israel and militants in Gaza, Hamas officials said Tuesday.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas — who lives in the West Bank — will announce the cease-fire at 7 p.m. local time (12 p.m. ET), according to a senior Palestinian official briefed on the matter.
But Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said word of a deal was “just reports.”
A senior Egyptian government official told CNN Tuesday that there was no cease-fire deal, but added, “We may have an announcement later today or tomorrow.”
Abbas is not part of Hamas. He is with Fatah, the longtime rival Palestinian faction, which has run the government in the West Bank.
Tuesday marks the 50th day of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. The Israel Defense Forces reported that militants destroyed a home in Ashkelon and fired a rocket that landed near a kindergarten in Ashdod.
“Our soldiers remain prepared to defend Israel from every threat,” the IDF said on Twitter.
Three Palestinians were killed Tuesday in an Israeli airstrike that targeted a group of civilians in Rafah, according to a Facebook post from Ashraf el-Qedra, a spokesman for the Palestinian Health Ministry.
El-Qedra said earlier a total of 2,131 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict. It’s not clear if the latest fatalities Tuesday were part of that number, or how many civilians made up the total. The United Nations estimates more than 70% were civilians, but Israel reports a higher number of militants among the dead.
On Sunday, the IDF accused Hamas of routinely exaggerating civilian deaths “for propaganda purposes.”
Sixty-seven Israelis — 64 of them soldiers — have been killed, the United Nations reports. A foreign worker in Israel was killed as well.
A 4-year-old boy became Israel’s latest civilian victim Friday when a mortar shell exploded in the parking lot of a kibbutz, Israeli rescue services said.
On Monday night, Israel blasted a second residential tower in Gaza. The Health Ministry said 20 people were injured in the airstrike.
The Israeli military said the building housed a Hamas “command and control center.” Palestinians evacuated the building after warnings from Israel, the IDF said.