A truce has been reached to end the fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza, all sides said today.
Palestinian and Egyptian officials announced the deal. A senior Israeli government official said Israel “once again” accepted Egypt’s proposed ceasefire.
Throughout the conflict, Israel has openly accepted Egypt’s ceasefire proposals and slammed Hamas for not doing so.
Egypt, which has brokered negotiations, said on state-run media that the ceasefire will go into effect at midnight local time (5 p.m. ET). But Hamas officials said it was to begin at 7 p.m. local time.
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BEIRUT The Syrian opposition said Wednesday that state security forces had launched intense artillery and rocket barrages on the eastern suburbs of the capital Damascus, claiming that hundreds of people died in what was being called a “poisonous gas” attack.
The attack coincided with the visit by a 20-member U.N. chemical weapons team to Syria to investigate three sites where chemical weapons attacks allegedly occurred during the past year. Their presence raises questions about why the regime – which called the claims of the attack Wednesday “absolutely baseless” – would use chemical agents at this time.
In a statement, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said the U.S. is deeply concerned by reports chemical weapons use in Syria, and that the Obama administration is “working urgently to gather additional information.
“If the Syrian government has nothing to hide and is truly committed to an impartial and credible investigation of chemical weapons use in Syria, it will facilitate the U.N. team’s immediate and unfettered access to this site,” Earnest said.
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Egypt’s former autocrat, Hosni Mubarak, could leave prison as early as Wednesday night, government officials and legal experts said, after a Cairo court ordered his release. Mubarak’s release would constitute another dramatic blow to the protest movement that led to his removal from office in February, 2011, and has rallied in recent weeks against the July 3 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
What do you think? Should we suspend foreign aid to Egypt?
CAIRO – As the sun set on the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, families across Cairo gathered for the fast-breaking iftar meal in a country that in the last two weeks has seen protests by millions, a coup against an elected president and the deaths of dozens of people in clashes with the military.
Ramadan is traditionally a time of personal reflection and feeling a sense of brotherhood with fellow Muslims, but in the aftermath of the military overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi, the divisions among Egyptians extend even down to this traditional meal.
On one side of the city, Tahrir Square remains the symbolic center of the revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak and later opposed Morsi. Across town in an eastern district, Morsi’s supporters have coalesced around a major intersection in front of the mosque of Rabaah al-Adawiya.
Breaking their fast outdoors, the people in the two camps expressed bafflement and disdain for the other side.
“I don’t know if the people at Rabaah al-Adawiya are out of their minds or if they are brainwashed,” said Shenouda William, a 35-year-old lawyer, who sat with about 100 people in the echoing emptiness of Tahrir Square to break their fast. Others described the Morsi supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood as ignorant peasants or possibly Palestinian and Syrian refugees looking for food and a place to sleep.
Protesters gather in downtown Cairo
LIVE VIDEO — Crowds gather in downtown Cairo after Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was removed from office by the military last week.