Gaza ceasefire: Israel and Palestinians agree to halt weeks of fighting

After 50 days of the Gaza conflict, more than 2,100 people were killed, most of them civilians, including about 500 children. Photograph: Majdi Fathi/Corbis

Terms of indefinite ceasefire – brokered by Egypt – expected to be similar to those agreed at the end of 2012 conflict

Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to an indefinite ceasefire, putting an end to seven weeks of catastrophic loss of life and destruction – but on terms that are likely to leave many on both sides of the conflict wondering what had been achieved.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the main militant groups in Gaza, the Palestinian Authority and Israel agreed to stop fighting on Tuesday evening, bringing relief to civilians on both sides of the border after rocket fire and air strikes continued in the hours running up to the ceasefire. One Israeli was killed and several injured by a mortar ahead of the announcement, according to Israeli media.

The terms of the deal – brokered by the Egyptian government, and reached on the 50th day of the conflict – are expected to be similar to those agreed at the end of the previous war 21 months ago. Israel will open crossings on its border to allow the movement of people and goods, and extend the permitted fishing zone off the coast of Gaza. Rafah, the border between Gaza and Egypt will also be opened; reconstruction of Gaza will begin.

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