Cease-Fire Agreement Between Israel, Gaza To Start This Afternoon

10:45 PM, Nov 21, 2012   |    comments
Israeli rescue workers and paramedics carry injured woman from the site of bus bombing in Tel Aviv (AP)
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JERUSALEM (USA TODAY) -- A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was announced on Wednesday.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been in Cairo for talks with Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, who has been acting as a mediator, about a possible ceasefire.

It was announced in Cairo by Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr and Clinton and will be effective at 2 p.m. ET.

"The people of this region deserve the chance to live in peace," Clinton said at the press conference announcing the cease-fire.

She called it a "critical moment" for the region.

"Egypt's new government is assuming responsibility and leadership that has long made it a cornerstone of regional stability and peace," Clinton said.

Earlier a bomb ripped through an Israeli bus near the nation's military headquarters in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, wounding at least 27 people, Israeli officials said.

The blast came as diplomats worked furiously in the Middle East to negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas as fighting continued to rage on both sides of the border.

Clinton released a statement then that said "As I arrive in Cairo, I am closely monitoring reports from Tel Aviv, and we will stay in close contact with Prime Minister Netanyahu's team," Clinton said. "The United States stands ready to provide any assistance that Israel requires."

Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday night.

The bus exploded about noon on one of the coastal city's busiest arteries, near the Tel Aviv museum and across from an entrance to the Kirya, Israel's national defense headquarters.

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