A ceasefire will begin on Thursday, between Israel and Hamas, has said a Palestinian official.
Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, said Israel would continue preparations for broad military action should a truce fall apart.
“What is important is not words but actions”, he said. He repeated Israel’s demands for an end to attacks on Israeli civilians, a halt to arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip and progress towards the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier seized by Gaza fighters two years ago.
Ahmed Yousef, Hamas official, told the BBC that he hoped that the ceasefire would lead to a further opening of the crossing points from Israel into Gaza, as well as an increase in the number of supplies.
“I am confident that everybody will abide by what we’ve agreed. All the groups which went to Cairo gave their okay to the ceasefire. If anybody does anything, they will be doing it on their own”, he said.
He added that now, the aim was to push talks ahead, concerning a prisoner exchange, and a new round of talks in Cairo, gathering together the rival Palestinian factions of Fatah and Hamas.
After working for months to bring Israel and Hamas to an agreement, Egypt, said both sides had accepted the first stage of the deal, state-owned news agency Mena reported.
“Egypt hopes that the two sides will exert all efforts to bring the calm to a success”, the agency quoted a senior official as saying.