Hamas officials say they have reached a deal with Israel Tuesday, after several days of intense strikes in which Israel brought down some of Gaza’s tallest buildings.
According to the AP, Israel’s past military strikes on high-rises have taken out specific targets without destroying or crippling whole buildings. Yet over the past several days, the IDF has demolished at least five such buildings. One of them was a 13-story structure known as the Italian Compound, which housed cafés, shops, and government institutions. (Earlier Tuesday, a Hamas rocket hit a civilian home in the Israeli city of Ashkelon.) The IDF tactic was meant to increase pressure on Hamas to agree to a deal.
And it may have worked. The almost two-month-old armed conflict seems to be nearing an end as leaders of various Palestinian factions confirm reports of a deal:
“An agreement has been reached between the two sides and we are awaiting the announcement from Cairo to determine the zero hour for implementation,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, according to Reuters.
In the short term, this cease-fire would open Gaza’s border crossings with Egypt and expand the territory’s acceptable fishing area. Then after a month, negotiators on both sides would begin to discuss the possibility of building a port in Gaza, as well as a potential release of Palestinian prisoners in the West Bank.
Previously, Israel had been hesitant about allowing open border crossings with Egypt, because of fears that Hamas would use the newfound access to smuggle more weapons into the territory. Israeli officials have yet to respond to reports of a deal being reached.