Israel-Hamas Cease-fire Reached

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RISHON LEZION, Israel -- Israel and Hamas have reached a complete cease-fire agreement on the condition that Hamas stops firing rockets from Gaza, according to Israeli leaders.

CBN News Jerusalem Bureau reports that Hamas continues to fire rockets at Israel despite the news of a peace deal.

The deal was set to take effect at 9 p.m. local time. (2 p.m. EDT).

Earlier on Wedesday, the conflict moved to a new level after a terrorist bus bombing in the heart of Israel injured more than a dozen passengers.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon are meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to push for a truce between Israel and Hamas. But on the ground the rockets keep flying.

CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell has more from Ashdod in Southern Israel near the Gaza Strip, following this report as seen earlier on today's "The 700 Club."

Hamas claimed responsibility for the terrorist bus bombing in Tel Aviv while diplomatic efforts continue toward a ceasefire.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is in a battle to save lives.

"Now if there is a possibility of achieving a long-term solution to this problem through diplomatic means, we prefer that. But if not, I'm sure you understand that Israel will have to take whatever action is necessary to defend its people," he said.

Clinton said America's commitment to Israel's security is unwavering.

"That is why we believe it is essential to de-escalate the situation in Gaza," she said.

Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren told CBN News what Israel's expectations are, saying the Hamas rockets must stop.

"There's no question about de-escalation, but the de-escalation has to begin with Hamas," Oren said. "First of all, stop the firing. Stop the rockets. Then we will discuss the possibility of a long-term solution."

"A long-term solution will mean that there will be no more smuggling of Iranian rockets into the Gaza Strip," he continued. "And that the terrorists will not be able to open fire every month or every week at Israel and paralyze half the country when they want to."

An Elusive Ceasefire

But following Clinton's Jerusalem visit there were no signs of a ceasefire. A rocket from Gaza crashed into an apartment building in Rishon Lezion, the most serious rocket attack in the Tel Aviv area since the operation began Tuesday evening.

"All the glasses were there so we understood something happened nearby," said rocket attack victim Yael Geraci. "I didn't think that it's in our building."

Geraci's family, who lives in the apartment, miraculously survived unharmed because when they heard the alarm, they went to their security room.

"Thank God that we are okay," he said. "That's the important thing."

Palestinians say 120 people have been killed so far in Gaza and hundreds of others are wounded while Hamas executed six collaborators. Israel said it is going out of its way to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces released a video showing an aborted bombing mission because civilians were in the area. They've also dropped leaflets and sent text messages to Gaza residents warning them of imminent strikes and telling them to clear the area.

For now the battle rages.

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CBN News
Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl

CBN News Jerusalem Bureau

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