- (Photo: Reuters/Marko Djurica)
Egyptian officials have announced that a cease-fire agreement has been reached between Israeli and Hamas forces, which will take effect at 9 p.m. local time Wednesday.
The cease-fire agreement, brokered by Egypt, ends eight days of deadly fighting between Israelis and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, accompanied by visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, announced the cease-fire in a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
"The United States welcomes the agreement today for the cease-fire in Gaza," Clinton told reporters at the press conference, according to NBC News.
"This is a critical moment for the region," Clinton added, commending the Egyptian government for practicing responsibility and leadership in the Gaza Strip.
According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, President Barack Obama spoke over the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prior to the cease-fire agreement to advise him on the peace offer.
"The president expressed his appreciation for the Prime Minister's efforts to work with the new Egyptian government to achieve a sustainable cease-fire and a more durable solution to this problem," the White House said in a statement, according to Reuters.
The cease-fire agreement between Israel and the Hamas Islamic group comes after a week of gruesome fighting that reportedly claimed 145 lives.
Reports indicate that the turning point which led to the cease-fire agreement came when militants bombed a local bus in Tel Aviv in the early morning commute hours of Nov. 21, reportedly injuring 24 people, according to local authorities.
International leaders vehemently pushed for an end to attacks after the bus explosion, with Secretary of State Clinton offering aid to Israel.
The New York Times reports that although details of the cease-fire agreement have not been shared, Prime Minister Netanyahu has said in a statement that he is "satisfied, for the moment, with the outcome."